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On Gerard

This is the news no one wants to hear. It is my sad task to tell you that Gerard has cancer that has metastasized, and that treatment offers very little or nothing at this point. He has entered hospice care, his younger brother is with him, and other loved ones have gathered or are gathering to visit, as well as church members and pastor.

His diagnosis took longer than usual because there were some glitches in some of the tests they did. But he and his family have known the situation for a few days now. He is resting a great deal, but when he’s awake it might be possible for someone to read him your comments here. He has already been touched by the outpouring of love and appreciation you’ve offered.

He has been planning an e-book of many of his essays and has done some of the compilation. I will be hoping to get that out, although it won’t be happening soon. I also will keep posting here for a while to let you know what is going on with Gerard. In addition, he long ago planned some posts that will be published here when his time on earth is done.

{ 336 comments… add one }
  • Joe Krill January 22, 2023, 5:35 PM

    If the readers pray prayers in unwavering faith that Gerard be healed, there is not doubt in my mind that he will be healed.

    • Bear Claw Chris Lapp January 23, 2023, 9:06 AM

      Will be praying a lot for this beautiful man.

  • Roll-aid January 22, 2023, 5:37 PM

    Words fail me.

    • Kbaba January 23, 2023, 8:57 PM

      Me too. But Gerard’s words will live on forever!

      God bless you, my friend.

  • Scott January 22, 2023, 5:47 PM

    This blog has been a bright spot for quite a while. So sorry to hear of Gerard’s situation. I wish him Godspeed, and all blessings.

  • jd January 22, 2023, 5:49 PM

    Thank you for the news even though it’s not good for us. He’s in God’s hands
    but it’s good to know that family and friends are with him. We will
    keep praying and being with him in spirit.
    God’s blessings on all of you.

  • Mark Perkins January 22, 2023, 5:50 PM

    One day I am sure we will know each other. I was laid low by leukemia twice, close to death often, and somehow survived. But your faith in Christ guarantees your ultimate healing in the resurrection. You will be well. I look forward to giving you a handshake and a word of appreciation in that time. Be at peace. I pray for your comfort in body and soul for the time being, and that this season is a powerful message of the Gospel to all who wish to listen.

    Mark

  • Shelley January 22, 2023, 5:52 PM

    Gerard, the most wonderful opportunity, I’ve had, to witness your sincerity, humor and love over last 20 years. God bless you.

    • TrangBang68 January 23, 2023, 6:49 AM

      Yeah amen to that, Gerard your writings, wit and links to other iconoclasts have been a source of joy and strength to this old unregenerate rebel. The America of our youth and dreams has been turned into a leftist sh*tshow run by the worst rodents and vermin on earth. As the Chevy drives off the levy, with the gangsters in the car flipping off the Karens and nutless soy boys; vaya con Dios, my friend.

    • Tex Lovera January 23, 2023, 11:57 AM

      I couldn’t have said that any better. God Bless you, Gerard.

  • ghostsniper January 22, 2023, 6:02 PM

    NO
    I won’t accept this.

  • K2 January 22, 2023, 6:15 PM

    It will always be too soon to say goodbye to you, Gerard.
    And yet me must, at least in this temporal life.
    May the Lord, in that beauty that lies beyond, refresh your soul for eternity.
    Thank you for all you have shared with us, your words made us more human,
    made us more thankful, made us laugh, and cry sometimes.
    Godspeed.

  • azlibertarian January 22, 2023, 6:27 PM

    I just don’t have the words. What a bright light you’ve shown us. You’ve been one of my “Something Wonderful’s” for so long. Please rest, my friend, and I know that God will welcome you.

  • Anne January 22, 2023, 6:37 PM

    oh, please no.

    you were the daily treasure I went to find peace, clarity, and stability.

    An ebook will not be enough. Please find a way to put all of his wonderful work from this site into a hardbound copy, or at least a softbound edition. I need to hold on. . .

  • Steven Wright January 22, 2023, 6:38 PM

    Gerard, Sir, you have had a tremendous impact on my life, and so many others. Once you told us of the best business to choose. That of a prophet. That you would know it was working when men you had never known repeated the concepts provided, having no real knowledge of where they came from. Only that it was a obvious truth that sprouted fully formed in thier mind. You sir, have accomplished that feat.
    I have made and love your Mothers cookies. They are truly the Holy Chocolate Chip Cookie. I understand the dark lantern as I am in recovery. I know where your name sakes name is carved in stone. I could go on, but know in your heart you have effected my life, and my childrens lives. Sir it seems we will not meet in this life. I believe in Jesus Christ, I am his servant. I believe you are as well. We will meet in Heaven. I will know you.

    Your Brother in Christ
    Steven J. Wright

  • jwm January 22, 2023, 6:42 PM

    Our lives have been so much richer for the work you have done here, Gerard. For all of us you’ve been the best friend we never met. But friends we are. You are in the Lord’s hands. I will continue to pray.
    God bless.

    JWM

  • Will January 22, 2023, 6:45 PM

    Dear Gerard, I have probably been reading “American Digest” for over a decade and I thank you for letting us read your thoughts. I pray that you get better, and perhaps some day we will meet, if not in this world, in the world to come.

  • Frank January 22, 2023, 6:46 PM

    This is terrible news. I have been following since the turn of the millennium and have appreciated your work greatly. Thankyou.

  • lpdbw January 22, 2023, 7:02 PM

    My dear friend Tina, who posted all over the internet as Pecancorner, told us that she had faith through prayer that she would be healed. If not here on earth, then in Heaven.

    I wish you that kind of faith. And I’m sorry I didn’t make it to Chico last year to take you out to lunch like we discussed.

  • Humdeedee January 22, 2023, 7:20 PM

    😢 I pray fervently that our dear Gerard will once again be given yet more time with us and all whose lives have been and could be made brighter by his tender and deep way with words, the poetry of his soul and the mind-bending beauty he has so often brought to us.

  • Terry January 22, 2023, 7:20 PM

    Dear Gerard,
    American Digest has been my Home Page for nearly twenty years. Your being has been one of few reasons for me to be joyful to awaken each morning all these years.

    You are my brother in spirit and have been like the sun showing through the end of stormy skies.

    Whatever God has planned, you will be welcomed and cherished. Your followers here in this turbulent world are some very fine human beings. I am so very happy to have been able to join the dialog.

    Gerard, just my ability to visit American Digest daily made me a better man. Thank you.

    You are in my and my wife’s prayers. Never give up.

    Terry Hunt

  • AbigailAdams January 22, 2023, 7:25 PM

    We love you, Gerard. Geoff C. and I have sent texts to your phone for your brother to read to you, too. I’ll send more tomorrow. If you’ve not already, rest deeply tonight, brother. So joyed at reading about the many lives you’ve touched here on the ‘blue planet’. Eternity is going to be a hoot! Save up your stories there in the meantime because we’ll want all the details.

  • Emily January 22, 2023, 7:26 PM

    Thank you, Gerard, for sharing your wonderful writ, and creating a website that has never failed to be enjoyable. You have certainly touched many lives with your wisdom and humor. I pray for your peace and comfort. Bless you.

  • Emily January 22, 2023, 7:27 PM

    Thank you, Gerard, for sharing your wonderful writing, and creating a website that has never failed to be thought provoking. You have certainly touched many lives with your wisdom and humor. I pray for your peace and comfort. Bless you.

  • Julio January 22, 2023, 7:41 PM

    My heart is heavy. Your spirit and essence of your being has always touched me in ways that I wasn’t aware I could feel. I was in awe of your writings and profound feelings you expressed. You are a special soul and I feel blessed in having been a part of your world. May the Lord keep you in His glory and assist you in your last agony and may you breathe forth your soul in peace with Him and may his perpetual light shine upon you.

    • CT January 23, 2023, 10:59 AM

      Please don’t use words like “agony”. One of the major purposes of hospice is to remove that from the equation. If there is any “good” in all of this, it is that Gerard will no longer have to endure this crazy world.

      • Julio January 26, 2023, 8:00 AM

        The “agony” of death is not always physical pain but more importantly related to our psychological or spiritual suffering. Recall Jesus’ agony in the garden. Agony is characterized by an incapacity of creating any representation or knowledge of the event because of the extreme unknowability of the thing itself. We’re talking about death itself my friend! “Memento Mori”. The vacuity of the world and the great emptiness of everything including our very life essence. The strange emptiness we must feel and knowing our collapse is total and every breath is numbered. To whom do we look for solace in this final scene of our earthly existence? What was the meaning of our existence, and this agony is a blow to our nature, and it breaks that connection by which we have come to this world and ourselves. It undermines our manner of being because it undermines our very time of being alive. This agony, this thought of death breaks our ties with the future and it becomes futile and weary and revolting. Oh, how our Lord suffered with the weight of our sins in his human nature. ” I am poured out like water and all my bones are dislocated. My heart is like wax and It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potshered and my tongue cleaves to my jaws. And thou doth lay me in the dust of Death”

  • Giles Overreach January 22, 2023, 8:06 PM

    Gerard,
    Sir, you have kept the faith and run the race.
    Your writing and wisdom have been unexpected gifts in my life.
    Peace and vaya con Dios.

  • MikeyB January 22, 2023, 8:16 PM

    You are a good man, Gerard. May you be at peace.

    Ave Atque Vale

  • Clinton January 22, 2023, 8:32 PM

    Rats.

    Thank You, Gerard, for the many times that your writing through your site was a light in an otherwise dark and lonely place.

    We never did get the chance to have a burger at your favorite joint but it was a lot of fun watching from afar as you trolled the Internet, demanding that the Lefty du jour should suck start a school bus or siphon sewage through a garden hose.

    It was hard to square a writer that could be that crass as the same person who could write, at length, such lovely words about your mother and the very interesting recollections of your life. I’ll tell you that those stories may have seemed mundane to you that lived them but I am envious at how interesting your life appeared to be.

    I hope your remaining time on this earth is comfortable and that you are at peace, that you will be reunited with your mother and other people that love you, and that we will eventually meet again.

  • Gary January 22, 2023, 8:39 PM

    Oh my! Emotional in sending this. You touched my mind and heart many times over the years. Thank for all you have given us. Bless you, Gerard.

  • PA Cat January 22, 2023, 8:42 PM

    Shoot, if the Phillies could win the NL pennant last year, a miracle is possible for Gerard. Prayers up from one cat slave for another cat-owned human– for Olive’s as well as God’s good and faithful servant. I do hope someone is caring for Gerard’s Editor/Muse as well as for Gerard.

    Meanwhile:
    Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
    Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
    Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
    Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

  • Leslie January 22, 2023, 8:53 PM

    Go with God, friend. Dave at Happy Acres let us know on twitter, that he is riding this trail with you. Thank you for the decades of wisdom and true, beautiful things. It means more than you can know. I hope you will say hello to Jewel when you see her. Godspeed.

  • andre January 22, 2023, 8:59 PM

    Gerald, I just discovered this website a couple of years back, but check it every day. thank you for your devotion to the truth, and the unique perspectives, artistic presentations and more. I know that God is the Healer, and I also know that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and whoever believes in Him, though he were dead, yet shall he lives. There is no end. I hope and pray it doesn’t end here, but when all is said and done, there is no end with Christ.

  • Kristin January 22, 2023, 9:00 PM

    Gerard you have been on my prayers list for a few weeks now. It’s not the news we were expecting.
    Thank you for all the joy and love in your writings.
    Be with all the people that love you. You are in our thoughts, hearts and prayers.
    But most of all thank you for all these years of delight. Thank you.

  • Ole Eichhorn January 22, 2023, 9:14 PM

    Oh no! This is terrible news 🙁
    I’ve never met Gerard but have been reading his blog for a long, long time, and I feel like he is a friend. I’ll hope for a miraculous recovery.

  • David January 22, 2023, 9:16 PM

    Gerard had written the story “The Name on the Stone” many years ago, and then reprinted it at a certain time of the year. It was recalling his uncle, who died in WWII, as a pilot. His name is on the stone memorial in lower Manhatten, near the battery. A few years ago (2016), I was there, and actually looked for it, and there it was; Gerard Vanderleun. The very late uncle of our Gerard.

    And of course, most of us remember the passing of Gerard’s mother, at 104, a few years ago. And when Gerard was near death with a heart attack, and was out for 12 days, yet pulled through. The Paradise fire that almost killed him (and killed others).
    September 11, 2001, which Gerard has written about so eloquently.

    All the things a life is made of. And he has shared, through his writing, with his readers. We are richer for knowing and reading all this. It made a difference. It made a difference to me, at least.

    There is a light beyond the darkness, a hope beyond hope. A grace which has been given to us.
    I remember the Last Communion our family had with my Father on his deathbed, 46 years ago.
    “This is the blood of Christ that was shed for you…This is the body of Christ that was given for you”

    Gerard Vanderleun; maybe the best friend I never met.

    • Roll-aid January 23, 2023, 8:51 AM

      David
      I have said that Gerard’s “The Name in the Stone” was the single best piece of writing I have ever found, and I’m in my eighth decade. In that essay, Gerard states that his uncle was a “far better man than me” by selflessly going to war to protect everything he holds dear and paying the ultimate price. Gerard, if you can hear me, I believe you have made yourself worthy of your uncle’s sacrifice by touching the lives of so many of us via this wonder of technology, unimaginable at the time.

  • David January 22, 2023, 9:24 PM

    Where now are the horse and the rider?
    Where is the horn that was blowing?
    Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
    Where is the harp on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
    Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
    They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
    The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
    Who shall gather the smoke of the deadwood burning,
    Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?
    – J.R.R. Tolkien

  • Karen January 22, 2023, 9:37 PM

    Gerard, this is the best place to be on the internet, because of you. Thank you, -Karen-

  • robert kendall January 22, 2023, 10:26 PM

    prayers for your comfort and strength

  • VW January 22, 2023, 10:48 PM

    Gerard,
    Thank you for touching our lives for so many years with kindness, humor, and humanity. You are truly loved, more than you will ever know.🙏🏻💖

  • Lynne January 22, 2023, 11:09 PM

    I knew it was going to be bad news, Gerard. Although I was hoping for better. You’ve been my go to guy for a long time. I’m seriously going to miss you. Safe travels, my friend. I’ll miss you more than you’ll know. Love you.

  • Gagdad Bob January 22, 2023, 11:29 PM

    Despite countless voices out there, only a gifted few are truly irreplaceable — to paraphrase Davila, there are never too many writers, only too many people who write. I don’t know if your writing is a spiritual practice, but it must be, because reading you has certainly contributed to mine over these past two decades. That’s a whole lot of beauty & truth, for which I am profoundly grateful.

    • Richard Goetsch January 23, 2023, 11:17 AM

      ^^^^^^ This^^^^^
      Gerard
      I sent this as an e-card but the formatting got all messed up.
      Words fail me, so I offer words.

      SANDSTONE

      Countless layers of time
      Embedded in rock
      Each grain entombed
      Which once ran freely
      At the whim of flood and tide,
      Dancing across dunes before the wind.

      Entombed for an eternity of waiting
      As mountains grow with fits and tremors
      Vaulting toward the heavens
      In elephantine ballet
      To greet the rain,
      That solvent of the Earth
      With which the flux of time
      Tears loose the stones,
      Reducing them to grains
      Adding revolutions
      To the cycle never ending
      Since the sand was Native Rock.

       1983

  • Mike Austin January 23, 2023, 2:33 AM

    I have no words because there are no words. American Digest has been my cyber home for 20 years, and Gerard the best friend I never had the joy to meet. He and I will see each other again one day, in that Eternal Valley of Gold where there are no tears.

    Farewell Gerard. Farewell my friend.

  • Joe Blow January 23, 2023, 3:05 AM

    Blessings good Sir. May you and your family find peace.

  • Mike Seyle January 23, 2023, 3:57 AM

    So, it shatters. Much love, and infinite peace, Gerard.

  • Anonymous January 23, 2023, 4:29 AM

    God haue you in hys kepyng.

  • Dan Patterson January 23, 2023, 4:30 AM

    We travel a short road, there is never enough time for the things that we love and never enough time for loving and being loved by others. Pain and suffering have been with mankind since the beginning and those functions remain rooted in us without refinement, coarse and unflinching; affection and love are famously unanchored and we might or might not find a place on that ship, many of us are stowaways and grab what we can find.

    Your work here has given unmet friends like me just that comfort; a place of honesty and clarity, affection and appreciation. Just like that 50-cent piece your dad gave you, it is worth much more than face value.

    Blessings Gerard, and a better life awaits. I wish I could say or do something that would help.

  • pbird January 23, 2023, 4:34 AM

    Dear Gerard, you are loved. That’s all.

  • John Venlet January 23, 2023, 4:36 AM

    Gerard, may the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine down upon you and give you peace. May we all know that “His will be done” is not necessarily what we will, but that His will WILL enrich our lives, not in the ways of the world, but in the ways of eternal life. You truly are a brother in Christ to a large family.

  • Tim January 23, 2023, 4:41 AM

    Thanks Gerard, for the wonderful site. Prayers to you and your friends and family.

  • LadyBikki January 23, 2023, 4:49 AM

    I am at a loss for words.
    You are on our hearts and in our prayers.

  • Carter Duchesney January 23, 2023, 4:59 AM

    End each day with a grateful heart, knowing you have touched many.

  • David Spence January 23, 2023, 5:10 AM

    Gerard-Thanks for creating this wonderful place of refuge. I have come here many times a day to be enlightened, entertained and educated. Yours is a truly singular, God-given talent and I am grateful that you chose to share it here. God bless you and may he welcome you into his loving arms. Job well done, my friend!

  • Hoss January 23, 2023, 5:29 AM

    Gerard- Thank you for maintaining a wonderful site and giving to us, your friends, the chance to daily enjoy your talents. May the Father bless you and all those that are with you.

  • Nori January 23, 2023, 6:01 AM

    Thank you for sharing your bright,beautiful soul. You’ll never leave us.

  • double xx January 23, 2023, 6:14 AM

    I am at a loss for words, you are in my prayers.

  • John the River January 23, 2023, 6:16 AM

    Hard to type with the tears blurring my eyes. But God Bless You and give you peace.

    This is going to be a bad day. On Saturday my best friend was buried, a sudden illness and then a cancer diagnosis, metastasized and into hospice. All done and gone in a month. It’s hard to live with.
    Wish there was a bar we could all gather at, first round on me.

    • LadyBikki January 23, 2023, 1:54 PM

      I’d pay for the second, third….as many as we’d like.
      Yes.
      God bless.

  • Dirk January 23, 2023, 6:23 AM

    O lord, I suspected the worst, continued to pray for best outcomes. Continued back pain was the clue.

    Thank you for the sanity daily, I know God is by your side!

    Dirk

  • Joan of Argghh! January 23, 2023, 6:24 AM

    This. . . is too much. I was watching Cyrano last night and pondering all night long on the poets who have gripped my soul and imagination, Gerard being always in my heart, The Poet Laureate of our last, best days.
    May our prayers be heard by a merciful God, to bear you up on eagle’s wings to His waiting arms.
    -Joan

    • Gagdad Bob January 23, 2023, 12:31 PM

      We need a bigger word than “blogger.” Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere is a start.

    • David January 23, 2023, 5:56 PM

      I know that in some ways, it is almost beyond sadness, what I feel. Joan, I know you have been here as a commenter for a long time, as are others.
      Life will go on, though a bit dimmer and a little less interesting if Gerard passes out of this world.

      Only now do I realize how much I will miss him, a man I never met. If, by chance, Gerard can read these comments, only know that we all will carry you with us, in our hearts. Your labors have not been in vain, your writing has born fruit with so many, many people.
      “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”

  • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) January 23, 2023, 6:32 AM

    I am a pretty tough old bird, but the past few days have taken a toll on me. I feared for the worst when first learning of Gerard’s illness and hospitalization, but rationalized it as the outworking of my natural pessimism. Then yesterday, I learned that another of my dearest companions-I-have-never-met, Dr. Michael Heiser, announced that his battle against pancreatic CA is over and the cancer has prevailed. He announced that all treatment has been discontinued and he anticipates only a few days or weeks until he passes into the arms of his Loving Savior. I have nothing more to add to the outpourings of grief and sorrow expressed in these comments, save to add my prayers for the happy repose of these great and honorable souls. Deus vobiscum, Gerard and Michael.

  • Bill T January 23, 2023, 6:36 AM

    Gerard

    I have been a visitor here for years. Thank you for all that you have written here. Your writing lifted the spirits of all who read your words. I will miss you. I am praying for you.

  • Aggie January 23, 2023, 6:43 AM

    Ah Gerard, that’s a blow. Blessings to you and a multitude of warm thoughts of gratitude for your sharing of insights, humor and the human condition. Please do not give up the fight – with your family there to help and God’s eternal grace, you are in a better place than it may at first seem. Our prayers are with you and our hopes are staying strong.

  • Chuck January 23, 2023, 6:45 AM

    I’m so very sorry to hear this. Gerard, thank you for your strong voice over the years.

  • Bruce January 23, 2023, 6:51 AM

    Gerard, thank you for sharing your thoughts and writings over the many years. You have helped me and many others, and I have no doubt that you have made a positive difference for many in this world we share. God bless.

  • Juliette January 23, 2023, 7:01 AM

    Thank you for letting us share pieces of your life. Your memories have become our memories and that is no small thing. May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.

  • Mushroom January 23, 2023, 7:08 AM

    I have gleaned so much from GVL’s writing. He has been a gift and an inspiration. I will be praying.

  • Dan Fowler January 23, 2023, 7:11 AM

    Gerard, my sincere thank you for your work in producing these many years of wonder, laughs, deep insights, stories, and the daily delight of opening American Digest. I am saddened to hear of this illness but I also know, with all my ‘knower’, that I will have, at the end of a long line of followers, the chance in heaven to embrace in appreciation and brotherhood. We truly love you and will deeply miss you.

  • Casey Klahn January 23, 2023, 7:24 AM

    Gerard.

    • David January 23, 2023, 5:58 PM

      i know, Casey. Words fail us all, now. I feel so very, very sad.

      But I feel so fortunate that I have read so much of what Gerard wrote. Be glad that we knew him, if only through, perhaps, the fog of the internet.

  • MMinWA January 23, 2023, 7:36 AM

    Well that fucking sux. Your kind words to me about my work have always stayed with me Dude. Look in on me from time to time will ya?

    Happy trails.

  • Ginny January 23, 2023, 7:40 AM

    Oh, my heart! AD was a daily stop to keep the darkness at bay. After so many years, it felt like a deep friendship, even though we’d never met face to face. I might have sat near him once, in a restaurant at Alta Mira, while on my honeymoon many years ago. Before any of us even know what blogging would turn into and connect us all.

    Well done, good and faithful servant.

  • Phil in Mount Dora January 23, 2023, 7:58 AM

    Thank you so very much, Gerard, for the wonderful American Digest. Your shared stories have been and will continue to be life-enriching. May you live your best days over and over forever.

  • patvann January 23, 2023, 8:01 AM

    Now I may never be able to thank you in person… or hug you…
    I weep.

  • Phil in Mount Dora January 23, 2023, 8:04 AM

    This may be too long for a comment, but I’ll try it. I think of this when anyone I admire faces the end…
    **********************************************************************************
    She was a woman with a broom or a dustpan or a washrag or a mixing spoon in her hand. You saw her cutting piecrust in the morning, humming to it, or you saw her setting out the baked pies at noon or talking them in, cool, at dusk. She rang porcelain cups like a Swiss bell ringer, to their place. She glided through the halls as steadily as a vacuum machine, seeking, finding, and setting to rights. She made mirrors of every window, to catch the sun. She strolled but twice through any garden, trowel in hand, and the flowers raised their quivering fires upon the warm air in her wake. She slept quietly and turned no more than three time in a night, as relaxed as a white glove to which, at dawn, a brisk hand will return. Waking, she touched people like pictures, to set their frames straight.
    But, now . . . ?
    “Grandma,” said everyone. “Great-grandma.”
    Now it was as if a huge sum in arithmetic were finally drawing to an end. She had stuffed turkeys, chickens, squabs, gentlemen, and boys. She had washed ceilings, walls, invalids, and children. She had laid linoleum, repaired bicycles, wound clocks, stoked furnaces, swabbed iodine on ten thousand grievous wounds. Her hands had flown all around about and down, gentling this, including that, throwing baseballs, swinging bright coquet mallets, seeding black earth, or fixing covers over dumplings, ragouts, and children wildly strewn by slumber. She had pulled down shades, pinched out candles, turned switches, and–grown old. Looking back on thirty billions of things started, carried, finished and done, it all summed up, totaled out: the last decimal was placed, the final zero swung slowly into line. Now, chalk in hand, she stood back from life a silent hour before reaching for the eraser.
    “Let me see now,” said Great-grandma. “Let me see . . .”
    With no fuss or further ado, she traveled the house in an ever-circling inventory, reached the stairs at last, and, making no special announcement, she took herself up three flights to her room where, silently, she laid herself out like a fossil imprint under the snowing cool sheets of her bed and began to die.
    Again the voices:
    “Grandma! Great-grandma!”
    The rumor of what she was doing dropped down the stairwell, hit, and spread ripples through the rooms, out doors and windows and along the street of elms to the edge of the green ravine.
    “Here now, here!”
    The family surrounded her bed.
    “Just let me lie,” she whispered.
    Her ailment could not be seen in any microscope; it was a mild but ever-deepening tiredness, a dim weighting of her sparrow body; sleepy, sleepier, sleepiest.
    As for her children and her children’s children–it seemed impossible that with such a simple act, the most leisurely act in the world, she could cause such apprehension.
    “Great-grandma, now listen–what you’re doing is no better than breaking a lease. This house will fall down without you. You must give us at least a year’s notice!”
    Great-grandma opened one eye. Ninety years gazed calmly out at her physicians like a dust-ghost from a high cupola window in a fast-emptying house. “Tom . . . ?”
    The boy was sent, alone, to her whispering bed.
    “Tom,” she said, faintly, far away, “in the Southern Seas there’s a day in each man’s life when he knows it’s time to shake hands with all his friends and say good-by and sail away, and he does, and it’s natural–it’s just his time. That’s how it is today. I’m so like you sometimes, sitting through Saturday matinees until nine at night when we send your dad to bring you home. Tom, when the time comes that the same cowboys are shooting the same Indians on the same mountaintop, then it’s best to fold back the seat and head for the door, with no regrets and no walking backward up the aisle. So, I’m leaving while I’m still happy and still entertained.”
    Douglas was summoned next to her side.
    “Grandma, who’ll shingle the roof next spring?”
    Every April for as far back as there were calendars, you though you heard woodpeckers tapping the housetop. But no, it was Great-grandma somehow transported, singing, pounding nails, replacing shingles, high in the sky!
    “Douglas,” she whispered, “don’t ever let anyone do the shingles unless it’s fun for them.”
    “Yes,m.”
    “Look around come April, and say, ‘Who’d like to fix the roof?’ And whichever face lights up is the face you want, Douglas. Because up there on that roof you can see the whole town going toward the country and the country going toward the edge of the earth and the river shining, and the morning lake, and bird on the trees down under you, and the best of the wind all around above. Any one of those should be enough to make a person climb a weather vane some spring sunrise. It’s a powerful hour, if you give it half a chance. . . .”
    Her voice sank to a soft flutter.
    Douglas was crying.
    She roused herself again. “Now, why are you doing that?”
    “Because,” he said, “you won’t be here tomorrow.”
    She turned a small hand mirror from herself to the boy. He looked at her face and himself in the mirror and then at her face again as she said, “Tomorrow morning I’ll get up at seven and wash behind my ears; I’ll run to church with Charlie Woodman; I’ll picnic at Electric Park; I’ll swim, run barefoot, fall out of trees, chew spearmint gum . . . Douglas, Douglas, for shame! You cut your fingernails, don’t you?”
    “Yes’m.”
    “And you don’t yell when your body makes itself over every seven years or so, old cells dead and new ones added to your fingers and your heart. You don’t mind that, do you?”
    “No,m.”
    “Well, consider then, boy. Any man saves fingernail clippings is a fool. You ever see a snake bother to keep his peeled skin? That’s about all you got here today in this bed is fingernails and a snake skin. One good breath would send me up in flakes. Important thing is not the me that’s lying here, but the me that’s sitting on the edge of the bed looking back at me, and the me that’s downstairs cooking supper, or out in the garage under the car, or in the library reading. All the new parts, they count. I’m not really dying today. No person ever died that had a family. I’ll be around for a long time. A thousand years from now a whole township of my offspring will be biting sour apples in the gumwood shade. That’s my answer to anyone asks big questions! Quick now, send in the rest!”
    At last the entire family stood, like people seeing someone off at the rail station, waiting in the room.
    “Well,” said Great-grandma, “there I am. I’m not humble, so it’s nice seeing you standing around my bed. Now next week there’s late gardening and closet-cleaning and clothes-buying for the children to do. And since that part of me which is called, for convenience, Great-grandma, won’t be here to step it along, those other parts of me called Uncle Bert and Leo and Tom and Douglas, and all the other names, will have to take over, each to his own.”
    “Yes, Grandma.”
    “I don’t want any Halloween parties here tomorrow. Don’t want anyone saying anything sweet about me; I said it all in my time and my pride. I’ve tasted every victual and danced every dance; now there’s one last tart I haven’t bit on, one tune I haven’t whistled. But I’m not afraid. I’m truly curious. Death won’t get a crumb by my mouth I won’t keep and savor. Do don’t you worry over me. Now, all of you go, and let me find my sleep. . . .”
    Somewhere a door closed quietly.
    “That’s better.” Alone, she snuggled luxuriously down through the warm snowbank of linen and wool, sheet and cover, and the colors of the patchwork quilt were bright as the circus banners of old time. Lying there, she felt as small and secret as on those mornings eighty-some-odd years ago when, wakening, she comforted her tender bones in bed.
    A long time back, she thought, I dreamed a dream, and was enjoying it so much when someone wakened me, ant that was the day when I was born. And now? Now, let me see . . . She cast her mind back. Where was I? she thought. Ninety years . . . how to take up the thread and the pattern of that lost dream again? She put out a small hand. There . . . Yes, that was it. She smiled. Deeper in the warm snow hill she turned her head upon her pillow. That was better. Now, yes, now she saw it shaping in her mind quietly, and with a serenity like a sea moving along an endless and self-refreshing shore. Now she let the old dream touch and lift her from the snow and drift her above the scarce-remembered bed.
    Downstairs, she thought, they are polishing the silver, and rummaging the cellar, and dusting the halls. She could hear them living all through the house.
    “It’s all right,” whispered Great-grandma, as the dream floated her. “Like everything else in this life, it’s fitting.”
    And the sea moved her back down the shore.

    – from Dandelion Wine (1957) by Ray Bradbury

    • jrod January 25, 2023, 8:56 AM

      Thanks for posting this. It is quite consoling.

  • Rudy Ferguson January 23, 2023, 8:15 AM

    So sorry to hear this. We cannot afford to lose another patriot.

  • Spencer January 23, 2023, 8:17 AM

    I cannot add anything but to agree with all the kind words and to let you know you have been and will be in my prayers.

  • Mike Guenther January 23, 2023, 8:26 AM

    I e so enjoyed reading Gerard’s writings and musings over the years. We all will be sorry to see him go, but hopefully he’s going to a better place.

    As my late father told me and my brothers; Boys, I’ve lived a good life. It’s just my turn in the barrel.

  • WDS January 23, 2023, 8:49 AM

    Have learned a lot from GVDL the last few years and can only say “thanks” and will certainly keep him and his family in my prayers.

  • Stephen Barron January 23, 2023, 8:57 AM

    The saddest of news.
    American Digest has long been a very bright spot for me.
    God bless and keep you Gerard.

  • IP January 23, 2023, 8:59 AM

    Damn.

  • Walt Gottesman January 23, 2023, 9:16 AM

    Gerard,

    You are one of the great storytellers of our day, as was Ray Bradbury, as was, in his time, Mark Twain.

    I first read your blog about nine years ago when you republished your tribute to the memory of your
    uncle, “The Name in the Stone.” That was moving. I also loved your telling of your Dad giving money to the elderly neighbor lady to pay you for the chores you helped her with. I refer to that story as “The Parable of the Good Father.” I loved your memoir for your brother about your adventures with him in the hills of Paradise. I loved your writings about your mom. For me they were also parables, those of a good son.

    You’ve honored good people many times in touching, humorous and sometimes righteously angry essays. What a treasure for your readers!

    You are a man whose life has been touched by the Holy Spirit. You honor that too. You are in good hands!

    Godspeed good sir

  • Auntie Analogue January 23, 2023, 9:29 AM

    Kyrie eleison.

  • SK January 23, 2023, 9:34 AM

    Dear Mr Vanderleun,
Thank you for the intelligence, wisdom, wit, joy, warmth, wonder and love you have shown to all of us lucky enough to have known you on this marvelous, irreplaceable American Digest.
You are in the thoughts and prayers of all your readers whose hearts and souls you touched with your divine gifts.
    Peace be with you and Godspeed.

  • jerry January 23, 2023, 9:43 AM

    Words fail me, but not gerard he is a master storyteller,
    carry on G!

  • Harry January 23, 2023, 9:44 AM

    Gerard, you’ve created one of the most entertaining, brightest spots on the internet. I’ve been reading your musings for years. I will miss you. Thank you for enriching my life.

  • Greg January 23, 2023, 9:48 AM

    As Christians we have the hope and assurance that when this tent we call our bodies is finally folded up and put away, that we push the curtain back and enter Eternity. With the forgiveness granted us by our Savior Jesus Christ our new life begins as meet our Father. My hope is to meet you there in person one day so that we can continue what you started here. Thank you so much for all the stories I’ve read of yours. “It’s only right to feel like I do cause it is a honor to cry for you” Carolyn Arends.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2ZYppeSpAg&ab_channel=CarolynArends

  • Linda January 23, 2023, 9:49 AM

    Gerard, you are a wonderful writer and have brought joy in my life. Thank you so much. Peace to you.

  • Robert Moffett January 23, 2023, 9:54 AM

    I only found out about your blog a couple of months ago. I started coming here every morning. Your blog was very special. It was like a sunrise. You don’t know for sure what a sunrise is going to look like, but you are always happy to have seen it and it usually becomes the best part of the day. I have been thinking a lot about what happens to us after we go. After we are gone. There was a writer named Jan de Hartog. In one of his books that he wrote about the sea. He talked about what he thought might happen. He mentioned how some people imagine the afterlife is an endless darkness. He remembered how many nights he had spent on the bridge of the ship in complete darkness sailing over the seas, talking with friends on the bridge as the ship sailed on through the darkness. He said if that was his fate. He could think of worse things. But don’t forget after the darkness comes the sunrise. See you out there my friend.

  • Rick Moser January 23, 2023, 10:32 AM

    Hey Gerard,
    I am praying for you brother. May God comfort you and heal you in every way possible: Spiritual, physical and emotional. He loves you; God doesn’t promise to keep us out of bad situations, but He does promise to go with us when we travel there.

  • alexia & ray markarian January 23, 2023, 10:37 AM

    This is sad news about a writer & commentator we’ve followed for years. Say prayers for this good & beautiful man’s soul. His brilliance, goodness & love of life will remain in the lives of all of those who knew him personally or via his website. Journey on, Gerard.

  • Bill in Tennessee January 23, 2023, 10:42 AM

    It’s difficult to imagine a day when The American Digest will no longer inform, entertain, or provide something that makes me think in a new way. And Gerard’s poetry has always been a bright gift on a dismal world.
    I feel the rheostat switch on the Sun has been turned down and my life is losing yet another star in my universe. Safe travels, Gerard, I want to have a long conversation with you when I get where you are going

  • William Aronstein January 23, 2023, 10:45 AM

    Dear Gerard,
    Very saddened by this heavy news. I know that by your faith, you can be sure to hear, Εὖ δοῦλε ἀγαθὲκαὶπιστέ! I’ve studied at your feet for over 20 years – since the attack of September 11. You have been a trustworthy guide and I have been moved to tears of commiseration and of joy repeatedly as I have read everything that you have published here. And I have occasionally commented under a pseudonym. You will be missed. But your presence – what a disgraced but penetrating philosopher called the only true presence – the presence of the master in the work – will long endure in the memories of men and women on this earth. God Bless and watch over You always, let His countenance shine upon you, turn his face towards you, and give you Peace.

  • CT January 23, 2023, 11:11 AM

    Gerard, I have been privileged to know you, online. Thank you for everything. You will be very much missed. You are in my thoughts.

    Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
    For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
    Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
    Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee do go,
    Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
    Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
    And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
    And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally
    And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
    (—John Donne)

  • Mary Ann January 23, 2023, 11:13 AM

    Dear Gerard, I’ve struggled for hours with tears in my eyes to think what to say. I then realized I have company in my tears and sorrow. Realizing the “community” you have created here and now much you have meant to all of us. May the Lord shine His face on you and give you peace. We love you.

    • azlibertarian January 23, 2023, 12:00 PM

      That our friend, Gerard is about to leave us is both terrible, and ultimately necessary. He’s been such a big part of my life. But before this place on the internet is abandoned and we all slip out in our various directions, I’d just like to say that the commenters here have also added to my life. Maybe we’ll meet in the afterlife and Gerard will host us a great big party.

      Also, Gerard’s friend, whoever it has fallen to to bring us this sad news, you’re right up front in all of this, and you should come to our party too.

      I just gotta find a way to turn off the tears.

  • NA January 23, 2023, 11:14 AM

    This is terribly sad news, but thank you for sharing. I’ve pinned it to the top of the page here: https://normalamerican.com/news/

    Is there any way to send physical cards/messages to Gerard?

    • CT January 24, 2023, 7:10 AM

      His secure mailing address is under his photo at the top of the page:

      Gerard Van der Leun
      1692 Mangrove Ave
      Apt: 379
      Chico, CA 95926

  • Pamela January 23, 2023, 11:15 AM

    Lord, you better treat Gerard right, because if you don’t WE will be having words.

  • Denny January 23, 2023, 11:31 AM

    Dear Gerard, –
    “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
    I’m near 78 now, my health is failing, and I’m very much looking forward to finally
    meeting you soon, in a much better place if our God is willing.
    Thank you for the thoughtful and friendly shelter you have provided for me at AD these last 15 years.

  • John Stevens January 23, 2023, 11:43 AM

    Gerard, I will miss your well written essays. Tell your mother hello for me when you see her. I hope we encounter each other when we are both in the next plane of existence. You are a talented man. I am grateful for the extra time we had to enjoy your work.

  • Mark January 23, 2023, 11:52 AM

    G-d bless sending His healing angels to comfort one and all

  • Barba Cat January 23, 2023, 11:53 AM

    Gerard, my dear, you are more loved by so many than you can ever know while you’re in the flesh.

    But you will know, after this passage.

    Keep your hand in The FATHER’s.

  • Christopher R Taylor January 23, 2023, 11:56 AM

    What awful news, I have known and even worked with Gerard for nearly 20 years, off and on, and he was always a gentleman and a kind soul. God be with him and his family in these final days, and God bless him for his work and kindness to me. Thank you sir for all the years of posts and information and aid.

  • FLyover Pilgrim January 23, 2023, 11:57 AM

    Sir, I salute you.
    And I pray the Lord God heals you, in the way He deems fit.

  • jd January 23, 2023, 12:09 PM

    Though there are no visuals your room has to be bursting with loving thoughts and prayers, Gerard.
    This situation is a heart breaking surprise; the impact you’ve had on so many good souls is not.
    God love you and all who love you. I know He does but it feels good to say it. Flyover Pilgrim’s
    post seems very fitting, “I pray the Lord God heals you, in the way He deems fit”.

  • Alaskan Expat January 23, 2023, 12:19 PM

    Gerard, you have fulfilled your mission with grace, humility, wisdom, thoughtfulness, and love. Your light has shone brightly and been a beacon for many. If this is good-bye, I’m confident you will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May this time be a blessing for both you and your loved ones for everything is beautiful in its time. You are loved with an everlasting love.

  • Doug January 23, 2023, 12:22 PM

    Gerard, you filled a hole in my days for many years. May God give you the blessings that you need. He blessed me by putting American Digest in my path.

  • IB Bill January 23, 2023, 12:22 PM

    I have been a long time reader … feels like 20 years. Very sad news.

    Thank you, Gerard, for all you have done and shared with us. God bless you.

  • Horatio January 23, 2023, 12:22 PM

    This is so sad. I have been following him for years thru all the ups and downs he wrote about. I hop he finds peace in his last days.

  • Stephen Green January 23, 2023, 12:28 PM

    Rest, Gerard, and know that you have been appreciated and will be missed.

  • Gordon Scott January 23, 2023, 12:32 PM

    I had feared this news. I wish you an end to the pain.

    Dammit.

  • James Bass January 23, 2023, 12:40 PM

    Sorry to hear the news. Your writing on your website has always been a refreshing delight, and I will miss it. I speak for many in this regard. I will miss you.

  • Scott M January 23, 2023, 12:44 PM

    The Lord of the Universe assures us he has given us a pardon for our sins and has built a place for our eternal rest with Him, if only we ask for it and accept it. Jesus is our Savior and we need only ask that His will be done in our lives. I trust in Jesus and I believe GVL trusts in Him also.

    Gerard has had the type of life worth living and writing about. His words have touched so many of us. I love what GVL has been able to do through the web site. And he means so much to so many. We can be sure that our eternal God will welcome him and he will experience the type of love no many can only imagine on earth. May God bless Gerard at this time and be with his family. GVL is moving to a better neighborhood, not leaving us. I look forward to meeting him when we have to more pain and know only love. Jesus saves.

  • Ray Ciscon January 23, 2023, 12:48 PM

    Mr. Van der Leun, I have been an admirer of your writing for many years thanks to the referrals by Prof. Reynolds, and I am sad to hear that you have entered hospice.
    I have a feeling that when you leave this world and enter the next, you will take your place in heaven with the Lord.

    You will be remembered!

    Sincerely,

    Ray Ciscon

  • Joan of Argghh! January 23, 2023, 12:56 PM

    I know you’ll appreciate the wryness of seeing that you finally got another Instalanche, Gerard!

    There’s a lot of “you are loved” going on in here, but it’s true in the first-person as well. I love you and will miss you terribly. Others are waiting on a distant shore, excitedly, while we wave slowly here from this shore.

  • RedVixen75 January 23, 2023, 1:01 PM

    God bless you Gerard. I have been a reader for many years. Your site has been one of my places of refuge and sanity in this clown world. May God be with you and bless you and your family and your friends. May His Will be done. Thank you.

    • BroKen January 23, 2023, 5:15 PM

      “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope!”

  • Moneyrunner January 23, 2023, 1:02 PM

    One of my very favorite bloggers. A fellow Dutchman. A great wordsmith who is going to be with Lord. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”

  • John Fisher January 23, 2023, 1:03 PM

    To soon. My sadness has no words. Gerard, know that you have made a difference here.

  • JD Sherman January 23, 2023, 1:11 PM

    Terrible news. This man had a positive effect on so many lives. May God take him into his arms.

  • DadVan January 23, 2023, 1:16 PM

    His musings often (always?) struck a chord with me, especially some of his “annuals.” Each Christmas I looked forward to reading of his trip to Barnes and Noble; I finally got to use that quip this past year. “Jesus Christ” indeed! Suffice to say my prayers are with him and his family/friends. Unless a miracle occurs, I will say it now… “May his memory be for a blessing.” I know it will be for me!

  • theduchessofkitty January 23, 2023, 1:19 PM

    I’m in tears. No other words…

  • Patricia January 23, 2023, 1:27 PM

    Oh such bad news! He is such a soulful, talented, elegant writer. Prayers are going up for you now, sir.

  • Callmelennie January 23, 2023, 1:37 PM

    Gerard you were unique in the entire right blogosphere. No one even remotely like you. And it wasn’t just your writings; you had an uncanny knack of finding unique and valuable bits from the internet, like the “Woodpile Report” featuring a guy who called himself Ol’ Remus. What a source of wisdom that was, and it looked like it was put together in someone”s basement … on a Commodore 64, for Chris sake

    And recently you discovered some videos from some goofily earnest American kid named Patrick Lancaster that completely changed my understanding of what was happening in the city of Mariupol .. and by extension, Ukraine

  • A Reader in Ohio January 23, 2023, 1:38 PM

    God be with you, Gerard. If this is indeed the end, may your passing be painless … and may you immediately find yourself in Jesus’ presence to hear a most wonderful greeting:

    “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

  • julie January 23, 2023, 1:41 PM

    Shit.

    I didn’t see this yesterday, which is probably just as well. When we pulled into the parking lot for Mass yesterday morning, there were emergency vehicles in front of the rectory. All too soon, we learned to the tremendous sorrow of our community that one of our priests, Msgr. Wallace, had passed sometime during the night. It was sad, but hard to be too sad, because Father Wallace was perhaps on of the most joyful and humble men I have ever met; he was one of those who literally seem to radiate the light of Christ’s love, and so while we are sad to be missing him here we know that he is almost certainly in the best of all possible places right now. We mourn his loss here below, but it is hard to begrudge him his heavenly reward.

    Gerard, on the other hand, is such a treasure that to lose him for right now is literally unthinkable. I pray for his miraculous healing, even as I know the answer to such prayers is usually “no.”

    Lord, have mercy.

  • ontoiran January 23, 2023, 1:59 PM

    i only stumbled on to ad a few years ago, but i’ve enjoyed every minute that i spent here. thank you gerard for taking the time out of your life to brighten and enlighten. nothing i can say will add anything to what has already been said here; except i pray that you will find comfort in all the joy you’ve brought to thousands, and for strength and peace for your family and many friends.

  • BradF January 23, 2023, 2:16 PM

    A longtime reader here. Mr. van der Leun is in my prayers. What a good man, he can always be depended on for an honest take on the issues of the day. And his insight is so valuable.

  • Kim January 23, 2023, 2:17 PM

    Longtime sometime reader. Prayers for him and his family. He is quite brilliant.

  • Richard Fernandez January 23, 2023, 2:18 PM

    It’s time for the important things, now the daily preoccupations are gone. They will mostly be done for you. God will be with you; your loved ones attend you; your friends pray for you. There are a few preparations you must make alone, but I will follow when the time comes. Your friend Richard .

    • Joan of Argghh! January 23, 2023, 3:25 PM

      I hope it will be a long time still for you Richard. You are a national treasure, too!

  • Fred January 23, 2023, 2:21 PM

    This hits me so hard. Gerard, you have been mainstay of my online reading for years. Like a Limbaugh of the internet, he’s made us enjoy my limited time on earth. Prayers from my family and myself to you.

  • Uncle Jefe January 23, 2023, 2:27 PM

    Kids are asking me why I have tears in my eyes…
    “A friend of over 20 years is very ill, with Hospice care.”
    I’ve never met Gerard, nor even spoken with him in person.
    But every day of my life during these years I’ve heard a voice in my head that must’ve surely been his, because they were his words I was reading.
    All of you have an assigned voice in my head as well, as this community has shared great insight, funny anecdotes, wisdom from life experience, good advice, good news, bad news, great debates, hilarious comments…
    Gerard created this community for us, with us…
    I will continue to pray for him, as I do for more people it seems each day…
    It feels like I’m in a jet far up in the sky, but parts keep falling off, so that I’m afraid soon it’ll simply be me against the winds, and gravity.
    God Bless, Gerard.

  • Patrick January 23, 2023, 2:27 PM

    I have long enjoyed visiting this site.

    In my prayers Gerard will be held.

  • vok3 January 23, 2023, 2:28 PM

    “If the readers pray prayers in unwavering faith that Gerard be healed, there is not doubt in my mind that he will be healed.”

    Why?

    Why would HE get to be saved but any of the thousands of other people facing death any given day, don’t?

    What if it doesn’t happen? Does that mean “not enough” readers prayed? Does it mean nobody prayed? Does it mean all the readers prayed but more were needed? Does it mean you’re wrong?

    Why do you post a comment like this that can only end badly?

    ===

    Anyway, on topic, he’s been a very good writer. I find that I disagree with all sorts of his premises, but he’s always worth reading. Putting together a book would definitely be a good idea – and not just e-book! ebooks are temporary and ephemeral! Printed material stays and can and will be found years or decades or centuries later. If this guy’s writing deserves to be remembered – I think it does – make it physical.

    • CT January 24, 2023, 7:28 AM

      You said: “Why do you post a comment like this that can only end badly?”

      I say: “Why do you care what someone else said here?”
      Each of us is free to believe and/or post whatever he likes; the rest of us are free (internally) to agree, disagree, or ignore. Turning a comment into an argument serves no positive purpose of any kind, especially now.
      “Some people would rather be right than be happy.” Save your argument for some other time.

  • Lance de Boyle January 23, 2023, 2:34 PM

    The part of my life that has been and always will be you, Gerard, is now for God to enjoy.
    Bless you.

  • Jason January 23, 2023, 2:40 PM

    Praying for Gerard – he and his writing have been a daily stop for me for years. He always brought a smile to my face, made me think, made me cry, made me smarter and made me a better person.

    I pray for your healing sir. May God Bless you.

  • Christopher Conline January 23, 2023, 2:47 PM

    You have brought so much joy into this world. Never doubt that you made a wonderful difference in our lives.

  • Andrew Brooks January 23, 2023, 2:50 PM

    This is tragic news, at least or those of us on the earthly side of the veil. Your writing, and the stories you have shared of your journey, have been an inspiration for many years. I was proud to contribute to your recovery from the Paradise Fire. I have little to add to what Dave and others have written above. My prayers are with you. I wish you a painless entry to eternal life and to join the company of saints and your family how have gone on before you. ~andrewdb

  • Slehtine January 23, 2023, 2:53 PM

    I am just a reader of blog, but anyways. He has written clearly, humorously, with sanity and compassion. He has influenced me, some random dude overseas to be and do better.

    Sadness before death is mark of life well lived. My consolation is in just and loving God.

  • Golden West January 23, 2023, 2:56 PM

    You made this world a better place, Gerard – thank you for your friendship and light.

  • Mary January 23, 2023, 3:50 PM

    Oh my, such stunning, sad news. A beautiful man, with beautiful words and thoughts. God Bless him. M

  • Rob Muir January 23, 2023, 3:55 PM

    Thanks for all your blissful writing about your family and Paradise. In many ways, I feel that we grew up in different families together. You have seen momentous times and clearly recorded your impressions, and for that, I regard you highly.
    I am most grateful for your mom’s recipe of the Holy Cookie.
    Nobody gets out of here alive, which is the promise of the gospel, and which His promise will make sweet for you in the next life. I find great comfort in the New Testament, and some lesser comfort in the writings of C.S. Lewis in his book “The Great Divorce”. It’s worth a read.
    Please pray for us, Gerard, who stay behind to keep up the battle on earth as you make the Great Journey.

  • DT January 23, 2023, 4:02 PM

    You gave me pleasure and hope …

  • BonHagar January 23, 2023, 4:11 PM

    I’ve been through and survived stage III multiple myeloma while reading Vandeluen and American Digest. I am so sad to hear this. It becomes personal when a cancer is involved. I always wish others could also have successful outcomes. God Bless

  • Charlie Moore January 23, 2023, 4:13 PM

    If the Maker’s only purpose for you here was to inspire you to elevate the lives of so many through AD, He has succeeded immensely and triumphantly. Thanks and Godspeed.

  • Terry January 23, 2023, 4:19 PM

    Dear Gerard,

    You made the most positive change in my life that I can not thank you enough for making it possible for me to be a member of your friends.

    You are the reason I am still alive.

    God is with you.

    Terry Hunt

  • budhaha January 23, 2023, 4:30 PM

    Another light fails. Our world will be a dimmer place. Thanks for all the words which were much more than words. Peace be unto you.

  • theduchessofkitty January 23, 2023, 4:32 PM

    OK Gerard,

    I’m back. Too teary-eyed to write an hour ago.

    “Set your sight on things above,” as St. Paul pointed out to the Colossians.

    Don’t be afraid. Some have caught a few glimpses of the Heavenly realm. You will soon experience something beyond anything seen before by human eyes. This world is going to pass: after a little while, it will be no more. Beyond time, beyond space, beyond the many dimensions, you will see and understand much more than we ever could in our mortal bodies.

    You will face Him, the Word, who brought loudly the word “Ohr!” (“Light!”) and thus created the Universe, as you have never beheld anyone or anything before. Very few can hear it. But His Word encompasses the entire Universe – and you will hear it, all of it! You will behold He who made you, who died for you and rose again to show you there is Hope in Him. You will, at last, see He who will bring to you a new body, a new beginning, a New Heaven and a New Earth.

    He sees you right now. He is there, next to you. He’s now saying to you, “Fear not. I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are Mine.”

    He who brought you “Beauty from ashes” in the past is going to bring you Beauty again, beyond any comprehensively human description. You will see, smell and touch the flowers my uncle brought to me, in a dream I had of him many years ago. He went to the Lord’s House in 1989.

    He will reunite you with your Mom, your Dad, your brother and your Uncle Gerard. Your uncle will be so happy to finally meet the nephew named after you.

    You uplifted us all with your writing.

    You made us ponder about our own human relationships, our own human failings, ways to find Light through reasoning and the way back from our own precipices. The same God who told you not to “end it all” with a gun and made you bring it back, ask for your refund, and return home to face the future has done the same for many of us here. I’m sure you had a part in many of those glorious changes of mind.

    You showed us Paradise. You also showed us how certain “snakes” from far away can burn it all up in less than a day.

    You made us understand there are lives and sacrifices made behind the names carved in our monuments to those who served in war and never returned. All these names ask collectively is for us to live up to the same freedom they paid for so dearly.

    You showed us the beginning of Berkeley’s “Free Speech Movement” – and made us understand how it all turned out.

    You showed us the Math behind one homeless woman’s gains – and showed us the interesting things behind the curtain of “Will Work For Food.”

    You made us feel sorry for Yoko Ono. (That wasn’t easy.)

    You showed us 9/11/2001 – the souls of the dead that still haunt us, the ones we breathe and even fall into the ground with the rain.

    You showed us the meaning of the words The Preacher said, “He made it all, beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their hearts, except that no one finds out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

    You showed us how great this country has been, and how low it has gone.

    You showed us people with unhealthy obsessions often ruin good things for the rest of us.

    You showed us the blessing of having a good Mom.

    You showed us death is not The End.

    I wish we had met face to face. I wish you had met my family, too. My elder daughter is a good writer. You would have loved to have met her. My younger daughter, too. The same girl who wrote “God bless you” in that letter with those listed things after the fire years ago is almost 14 now. She needs Him dearly: she is going lost. This mom of hers has been pleading for her Salvation. I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m not giving up on her. God isn’t done with any of us. And I don’t think He will leave you, or any of us, to despair and darkness. Oh, no!

    St. Paul also said that we shall all be transformed, in a moment. Death will be absorbed into Victory. The Sting will only hurt a little while and then, it’s gone forever. “Where is it?” you will ask for a while, and then no more. Jesus will make it all new for you. The Mansions of Our Lord are waiting for your grand entrance.

    Remember the last scenes from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”? When the man trying to find the aliens all that time finally boards the spaceship that will take him into worlds unknown? Did you watch how amazed he was at the sight of all those fantastic things and the prospect of the new journey into which he was embarking?

    That’s going to be you, Gerard. You will experience something a million times better than a fictional spaceship. The journey into the Presence of the Lord God must be the most amazing thing. And to be in His Presence…

    Jesus has made your place above, just as He promised. He can’t wait to show it to you!

    We will meet you over there.

    Thank you, Gerard, for being our dear friend.

    Shalom.

    theduchessofkitty

    P.S. Tell your Mom we all say “Hello.” And tell your uncle from us, “Thank you.”

    • julie January 23, 2023, 4:47 PM

      I’d give this a million “likes” if I could. Thanks for putting into words some of the things I wish I had said earlier.

    • jwm January 23, 2023, 6:15 PM

      yes

      JWM

    • Terry January 23, 2023, 7:39 PM

      Duchess, thank you for putting in words things I could not clear the tears to type.

      Yes, our friend and mentor Gerard, is going to a better place than we now reside.

    • Snakepit Kansas January 25, 2023, 4:46 AM

      Very nicely said.
      Thank you.

  • Gary Foster January 23, 2023, 4:39 PM

    I am devastated to read this grim news. He was special. Really really special. I eagerly read everything he wrote here. Our loving God will receive him into a place with no pain and shining bright with the light of truth and love. Gerard, if you read this I send my love and profound appreciation for what you gave us through these years. You left a mark my brother. Farewell. God Speed.

  • Kerry January 23, 2023, 4:53 PM

    Thank you for providing beautiful writing in personal stories, poems and essays. I enjoy your work. And thanks for providing an outlet for people to comment and share their impressions. If this adventure that you’re wrapping up is any indication of what’s to come, brother, you’re in for a great time! Peace be with you, Gerard!

  • Kevin Baker January 23, 2023, 4:55 PM

    I have enjoyed Mr. Van Der Leun’s writing for the better part of two decades. Unfortunately, obviously not often enough to have known about his health issues before now. I am saddened to hear of the diagnosis. Fair winds and following seas, sir.

    • John the River January 23, 2023, 7:54 PM

      The sad news just came today, all of us were gobsmacked at the same time.
      Until today we were all waiting with bated breath for Gerard to reemerge and dazzle us again with his words.

  • Paco January 23, 2023, 5:01 PM

    God bless Gerard, and bring him comfort and healing.

  • Teri Pittman January 23, 2023, 5:01 PM

    Such sad news. May the Lord bless you and keep you in his hands, Gerard.

  • Bunny January 23, 2023, 5:01 PM

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us these many years. You are in my prayers.

  • One of Four January 23, 2023, 5:13 PM

    I came across an essay of yours that was published 12/31/2021. It was titled: “Long Read for the Last Day: Everything Is Clear From Up Here – The Good Citizen.”

    I wrote to my son on 1/1/2022, “This article portends a major turning in the zeitgeist. It has had a long time to get set up, but it has begun. It will be the New Renaissance: better for government, the economy, the arts, our health, and progress.”

    What can I say? I was inspired by your words and ideas.

    God’s blessings to you, Gerard! I hope we meet someday.

  • Michael Schlechter January 23, 2023, 5:16 PM

    Although always a fan, I have not always been a regular reader. May your sorrows be brief, and may the joy and love that your work has provided be returned to you a thousand-fold. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you and yours.

  • Chuck Quackenbush January 23, 2023, 5:19 PM

    for a lot of years I’ve read Gerards columns, considered his perspectives and admired his ability to put them into words. He has held good traction on the world during his journey. It would be right if he could have many more years. Warm regards to Gerard and his family, strength and courage to you all in days ahead.

  • Chuck Quackenbush January 23, 2023, 5:25 PM

    for a lot of years I’ve read Gerards columns, considered his perspectives and admired his ability to put them into words. He has held good traction on the world during his journey. It would be right if he could have many more years. Warm regards to Gerard and family, strength and courage to you all in days ahead.

  • Bob D January 23, 2023, 5:54 PM

    God Rest Ye, merry Gentleman.
    You’ve given me a lot of pleasure and insights during my latter years. Thanks.

  • Lee Also January 23, 2023, 6:03 PM

    I wish I had the right things to say. I’ve enjoyed his writing for a long time now. I think he’s made an big impact on many, many, many people. My prayers are with him, and his family. Much love.

  • Stan Stevens January 23, 2023, 6:06 PM

    Gerard, you and I are about the same age. Your blog was one the first I ever followed over 20 years ago, and it was always a joy to read and share your thoughts, your music, and your mother’s life. I have always felt a connection with. God bless you. You have done great work and humanity is better for it.

  • Wil January 23, 2023, 6:22 PM

    Someday . . .
    the light will shine
    like the sun
    through my heart
    & they will ask:
    What was the best part?
    & though there are
    many moments
    I think I’ll remember,
    in the end,
    I’ll be profoundly grateful to say,
    “I walked with Gerard
    for awhile.”

  • Annie Rose January 23, 2023, 6:23 PM

    God Bless you, Gerard, for being such a light in the world to so many through your thoughts, musings, poetry, and writing. May your journey to the ever-loving Father be peaceful and joyous.

  • Kay B January 23, 2023, 6:37 PM

    For Gerard – I feel as though I know you through your writings shared on AD over the years. Yours has been a place I visit almost daily for humor, inspiration, and wonder. I believe that God knows exactly the number of your days, and when He ordains your earthly life to end, it will be right and beautiful. We will mourn and rejoice even though to us it always seems too soon.

    ” But Angels in their full enlightned state,
    Angels who Live, and know what ’tis to Bee,
    2 Who all the nonsense of our Language see,
    Who speak Things, and our Words, their ill-drawn Pictures scorn,
    When we by’a foolish Figure say,
    3 Behold an old man Dead! then they
    Speak properly, and cry, Behold a man-childe born.”

    – Excerpt from ‘Life’ by Abraham Cowley, 1656

  • Hale Adams January 23, 2023, 6:56 PM

    Gerard,

    So many people have said so many things, here, I don’t know what to say without being repetitively repetitive.

    Gerard, you will be missed. Another great light (thinking of Steven Den Beste) is going out.

    God bless you, and thank you for being an enlightening near-daily stop for almost twenty (!) years.

    Hale Adams
    (and to Hell with my usual tagline)

  • Western Chauvinist January 23, 2023, 7:05 PM

    I’m so sorry to read of this news over on Glenn Reynolds’ site. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve kept up with you, Gerard, but your writing has always been inspiring and I carry with me your retelling of your experience on 9/11 to this day. You have been a blessing to us all.

    Our loss will be heaven’s gain. Godspeed and remember us to Jesus when you see him.

  • Arty January 23, 2023, 7:08 PM

    Horrible way to start 2023. Bless you Gerard and thank you for sharing your thoughts with your many friends over the last two decades.

  • ThisIsNotNutella January 23, 2023, 7:11 PM

    Very sad to hear this news. Selfishly so, as this blog has been my first online stop almost every day since blogging first became a thing.

    Over the years your writings have given me much to think about and (self-) reflect upon. For that, my profound gratitude.

    Go with God, Gerard.

    (But insist that He starts the meter before you close the door and buckle up.)

  • creeper January 23, 2023, 7:16 PM

    This blindsided me. There are no words. There is only prayer.

  • Wild, wild west January 23, 2023, 7:17 PM

    Gerald, you are now, and always will be, one of my favorites.

  • Dave January 23, 2023, 7:33 PM

    www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=24KChPShTn0&t=12s

  • Lynne January 23, 2023, 7:37 PM

    My heart is breaking. You’ve been my go to for years, Gerard.
    God bless and keep you.

  • Kurt January 23, 2023, 7:51 PM

    Gerard,
    Thank you for sharing your heart and your life with us for so many years. I have been deeply moved and uplifted by your words, brother. May God our Gracious Heavenly Father bless and keep you, and hold you close in His Arms in the days ahead. Remember, brother, just how much you are loved.

  • Terry January 23, 2023, 7:59 PM

    Walking with God.

    About 12 years ago, my eldest son died in a hospital in Stockton, California. This was unexpected. He was in his mid thirties. When my ex-wife called and notified me of this I sank to the lowest ebb in my entire life.

    After approximately a week, I sent a private email to Gerard and informed him of my grief. Gerard

    • Terry January 23, 2023, 8:08 PM

      I don’t know what happened above.

      To finish what I was typing above:

      Gerard replied to my email and told me my Son “Was walking with God”. That instantly elevated me out of my deep doldrum and pointed me to the Light. I then knew my Boy was in good hands.

      Thank you again Gerard.

  • You are loved. January 23, 2023, 8:02 PM

    Greatness in life: congratulations.

  • George January 23, 2023, 8:02 PM

    Gerard,
    Although I am a relatively new visitor to your website, I have come to appreciate your stories, and subjects and your creative writing style. Each morning for 4 years this has been the first stop on my tablet. I have also greatly enjoyed the comments from your loyal readers. You have made my life happier.
    I will pray for you and your loved ones.

  • Philip Averbuck January 23, 2023, 8:24 PM

    Sending up prayers for Gerard, he is a rare and beautiful soul. Not to mention one of our most brilliant writers and observers, I am so sad to hear of his condition, and praying for a miracle!

  • Kristin January 23, 2023, 8:28 PM

    We wonder here and there during our lives:”how did we or I get here?”
    Most of the times we can’t answer that question. It just happens to us.
    I am here again tonight to wish you a good rest and to ask Our Lord to hold you in his arms and give you comfort.
    With gratitude.

  • waepnedmann January 23, 2023, 8:31 PM

    Damn it!

  • Boat Guy January 23, 2023, 8:57 PM

    Yes, we will pray for Gerard, but whether he is “healed” or not is not up to us. I pray for his comfort, for his well-being and for his family in gratitude for all that he has given us over the years.

  • Roll-aid January 23, 2023, 9:07 PM

    I just reread all the comments on this thread. The faith of all in this moment is both humbling and wonderful. I hear the voice of the Holy Ghost, as Gerard said he has himself heard, through all who have gathered here. It says that be at peace, for he is welcome in the House of the Lord. Amen.

  • J.J. January 23, 2023, 9:10 PM

    Gerad, you have so many friends and fans who love you and admire your writing.
    You have done your life’s work well and it’s appreciated by us all. No man could hope for more out of life than that. Fair winds and smooth sailing Gerard. May God bless you and keep you close.

  • Steve Wheeler January 23, 2023, 9:15 PM

    I’m very sad to hear this. I’ve been reading this site for many years, although I’ve seldom commented. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Tellurian January 23, 2023, 10:00 PM

    My routine: First, read my Bible. Second, read Reader’s Digest. Thank you for your labours, Sir.

  • Jeffersonian January 23, 2023, 10:32 PM

    May God bless and keep you. I will miss you, and your words of kindness and understanding. You truly helped me understand life and the world.

  • SCOTTtheBADGER January 23, 2023, 10:38 PM

    Prayer said for you. We need you, in these times of trouble.

  • The former Mrs. VdL January 23, 2023, 11:41 PM

    Like everyone here who loves Gerard, I am stunned and saddened by this devastating news.
    Here’s a crude blog created in 2004 that documents his Laguna Beach gallery exhibit, “Images after the Fall: https://vansites.typepad.com/new_york_life/
    Despite our diverging paths, he was the most brilliant, most prolific writer I’ve ever known, and the kindest, most generous, most entertaining (you can imagine!) companion you could imagine. Gerard Van der Leun was love of my life and my biggest regret is that there isn’t more time to make it all up to him.
    AKA “his wife that year”

    • Casey Klahn January 24, 2023, 3:36 AM

      Let me offer condolences to you, and a prayer for comfort. Thank you so much for some backstory on G.

      I’ve often wondered so many things, such as how many readers read AD and other stuff. Judging by this comment stream, it’s a large family and I am very glad you wrote this comment because it brings me good.

      I recall once I must’ve been a little depressed, and did not comment here for several months. G. sought me out on e-mail and checked up on me. We’ve had a mutual friend, a blogger in Maine named Gregory, who I did meet. A few others have also back channeled with me. This blog is a powerful group of conservatives who’ve all been bettered by G. and by one another.

      • Dan Patterson January 24, 2023, 9:36 AM

        Thank you for that.

      • Tom Hyland January 24, 2023, 11:43 AM

        I remember very well your absence several years back. Folks got to wondering. I even did some research and affirmed here that Casey still lives. American Digest has been a priceless community gathering of conservative-minded, deep and eloquent participants. I’ve never had much to add military-wise because the draft ended a month before my appointment for the physical. But your commentary on the world of art has been a cherished contribution on these pages. I’m not saying goodbye to Gerard. Or really anyone. Just watching, waiting and reading everything here.

    • John the River January 24, 2023, 5:32 AM

      Condolences.
      We are all praying for Gerard, real hard.

    • Joan of Argghh! January 24, 2023, 5:49 AM

      Thank you. I am so sorry for your loss and tender regrets, and jealous of your “year” to simply watch Gerard go like he goes. I visited that blog link and am staggered to read even more of his background. I left a comment in the blank universe of black all around it. It is a fine space for more affections and marigolds of memory.

    • Dirk January 24, 2023, 12:38 PM

      WOW, thank you for sharing glimpses into a young and younger GV’s life. Most interesting.

      Life has always amazed me, so so many twists and turns!

    • Jason Henderson January 24, 2023, 5:32 PM

      Thank you

    • Terry January 24, 2023, 6:34 PM

      Former Mrs. VdL , I must tell you that your visit here is like a true God send.

      Thank you very, very much.

    • Joe Krill January 27, 2023, 4:19 PM

      Thank you.

  • Peter Bloch January 23, 2023, 11:58 PM

    We have been dear friends for 50 years. I know we will be together again. I love you.

  • Teresa Koch in Fort Worth, Texas January 24, 2023, 12:32 AM

    Gerard, your essays have bolstered my spirits one more occasions than I can count. You were kind enough to feature a couple of my blog posts on your site over the years; what an extraordinary honor that was! That someone who writes as beautifully as you always have would find something to like of mine was very humbling.

    The world will be a sadder place without you in it; I am so glad that you are leaving such an amazing body of work as your legacy. I will miss your calming “voice” so much.

    If you see a tomboyish young lady up in Heaven who loves snakes and lizards, please tell her that Mom and Dad say, “Hi” and that we love her and miss her. Her name is Michelle – I think the two of you will get along like old chums.

    Well done, good and faithful servant. You are loved and you will be missed.

  • Douglas January 24, 2023, 2:05 AM

    Gerard
    Your writing style was created due in large part to you life experience.As this process has evolved you have allowed us to see and experience your life’s mission.Life is a miracle.Your body will pass,But your spirit will remain intact.You are being forged for another mission,Go in peace,Embrace…

  • j0edaddy January 24, 2023, 2:39 AM

    Sadness. Days of silence were concerning. Were any vaXXines/boosters taken? Prayers unceasing.

  • 2Knives January 24, 2023, 3:34 AM

    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!

    Hunter S. Thompson

  • Jeremiah January 24, 2023, 3:35 AM

    I remember doing movie reviews for your site back in “the day.” And I remember after moving to California I went down to visit you by the beach and we spent the afternoon together, smoking cigars, talking politics and culture and whatnot. I was a twenty-something kid, an internet friend, and you hung out with me and treated me like an equal. I will treasure that time. Godspeed, Gerard. Greater rewards await.

  • Chef January 24, 2023, 4:26 AM

    Sir, Thank you for wisdom. Your words, actions and witness had and will continue to have far reaching effects -this to be revealed as you meet our Lord. As Wretchard wrote above you have a very little little to do and then all is done -Be at Peace, Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

  • waitingForTheStorm January 24, 2023, 4:36 AM

    Sad news. I hope that your stay in hospice is peaceful and that you will be as comfortable as can be. You will be missed by many.

  • Snakepit Kansas January 24, 2023, 4:42 AM

    Gerard,
    This site has been an earthly beacon of light for years now. He is calling you home, as He will eventually call all of us. You had a thousand stories and we were all hoping for a thousand more from you.

    Your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify our heavenly Father – Matthew 5:16

    Gerard, your light is shining.

  • ghostsniper January 24, 2023, 4:55 AM

    This site needs to be preserved some how so that others in the future will be able to access the words, feelings, and thoughts of Gerard, and the commenters, and for reflection for us the regulars. I hate to see him go.

    • LadyBikki January 24, 2023, 5:54 AM

      Yes, please.

  • John Venlet January 24, 2023, 5:16 AM

    Faith Is The Anchor

    Cancer involves more than the average person does know.
    Unless it strikes you or a loved one,
    the knowledge of its predatory nature cannot grow!
    When parents must watch their child experience agony, seams in their features become deep.
    Tears rivulet down a course that is embedded like a trickle of water that seeps!
    The family while in attendance with the patient must remain strong.
    Their resolve to bolster their burdens of doubt
    lead them down an avenue that is deserted and long.
    If the doctors say that medically they can do no more.
    Then prayer is the answer that can support the crumbling floor.
    Prayers can fashion a structure out of decaying boards,
    when faith is the anchor, they look toward!

    From “Verse Of A Healing Heart” – Linda Siemens

    I carry you in my heart and prayers, Gerard.

  • Yolan January 24, 2023, 5:17 AM

    I have love and admiration for you, Gerard,
    like all who visit here.
    You created such a place of beauty in a world that is
    sometimes lacking.
    Thank you.

  • Anonymous January 24, 2023, 6:49 AM

    “The Creche by the Side of the Road” (Dec 2003) grabbed me and never let me go.

    “Small moments in long journeys, like small lights in a large darkness, often linger in the memory. They come unbidden, occur when you are not ready for them, and are gone before you understand them. You “had the experience, but missed the meaning.” All you can do is hold them and hope that understanding will, in time, come to you.”

    *tears*

  • Sara January 24, 2023, 6:57 AM

    I shall be praying for your full recovery. Your work for the Lord showed in everything you’ve written over the years and led many like me to turn our lives over more deeply to God. You’ve been fighting the good fight for truth and beauty, so that while you may not see yourself as brave, we all know that on the most important battlefield, you have been a key soldier for many. Thank you, and may our prayers and gratitude go with you.

  • Joan of Argghh! January 24, 2023, 7:09 AM

    “In the changes which, thank God, must take place when the mortal puts on immortality, shall we not feel that the nobler our friends are, the more they are like themselves; that the more the idea of each is carried out in the perfection of beauty, the more like they are to what we thought them in our most exalted moods, to that which we saw in them in the rarest moments of profoundest communion, to that which we beheld through the veil of all their imperfections when we loved them the truest?
    Lord, evermore give us this Resurrection, like thine own in the body of thy Transfiguration. Let us see and hear, and know, and be seen, and heard, and known, as thou seest, hearest, and knowest. Give us glorified bodies through which to reveal the glorified thoughts which shall then inhabit us, when not only shalt thou reveal God, but each of us shall reveal thee.” -George MacDonald

  • Wally Fish January 24, 2023, 7:27 AM

    Feel a great sadness, but must temper it with the surety that you will be going to a better place.
    Have followed American Digest for as long as I can remember.
    Hopefully we’ll meet on the other side…we’re almost the same age.
    May the peace of God be with you.

  • Susan in Seattle January 24, 2023, 7:40 AM

    Others have certainly expressed my thoughts, there is little I can add other than the deep sadness for the ‘all of it.’ I have read this blog for years and Gerard has been a bright light in the midst of a lot of darkness on the internet. Keeping him and his family ‘tucked in.’

  • RJLJR January 24, 2023, 8:01 AM

    We all will face this reality of death, but few have been as prepared as you have, Gerard. I have seen it through my years of reading American Digest–your growth and preparation from God for this inevitable appointment. I am confident of this: you will continue to rest in Jesus and I will get to meet you in the future when we will have transcended our timebound world. Until then you will be sorely missed by me and many others.

    “‘“The Lord bless you
        and keep you;
    the Lord make his face shine on you
        and be gracious to you;
    the Lord turn his face toward you
        and give you peace.”’

  • Dinah January 24, 2023, 8:05 AM

    Too soon….too soon! I know that’s how things always work, but it’s sure awful to accept. I always thought that, perhaps someday, I’d have the chance to meet you, Gerard. I’d be tongue-tied and in awe of a talented, creative and astute man. You have provided me such joy, laughter, tears, and beauty over the years that I just cannot thank you enough. You provided us a salon where we’d meet and discuss all the good and bad in the world. The community here has been a delight for me as well……such interesting people gathered around you. Thank you, Gerard, for the years of delight and insight and humor and beauty. May God’s infinite grace surround you.

  • Joe Sciba January 24, 2023, 8:12 AM

    My wife returned from the gym early this morning to find me sobbing just after reading the news about Gerard. I was stunned that a man I’ve never met could have had such an effect on me.

    My prayers are with you, brother Gerard. May God’s peace be with you.

  • orcadrvr January 24, 2023, 8:16 AM

    May G_d bless you and keep you.
    Thank you for everything.
    You have made a difference.

  • Mizz E January 24, 2023, 8:18 AM

    Gerard, Well, damn, but it looks like it’s Closing Time. Are you ready? God knows, I wish it weren’t so, but we are not to stay here, and we will be dearly welcome to Him to whom we go. I’m deeply grateful in finding your prose and poetry here and elsewhere; it’s helped to sustain me in these lovely, darkening days. May the angels of compassion carry you home in God’s good time. -Mizz E

    • Joan of Argghh! January 24, 2023, 10:40 AM

      So beautifully put, Mizz E.

    • Leslie January 24, 2023, 2:45 PM

      So nice to see the dear friends I have because of Gerard’s beautiful site. Such a legacy he leaves.

    • Helene Fagan Bidwell January 26, 2023, 8:26 AM

      So. Sad. Praying.
      Love all these beautiful and appreciative comments.

  • Peter Bloch January 24, 2023, 8:30 AM

    Dearest G–
    When you see JAG get some of the end cut. And save some for me.
    I love you.
    P

  • Larry Jones January 24, 2023, 8:48 AM

    I am deeply saddened by this news! Gerard I have enjoyed your blog for many years. Your intellect, your talent as a writer and poet is five star. I know you have a relationship with God and I am sure you will help you now as he has in the past. Thank You Gerard for all you’ve done to help us understand and cope with the world we live in. God Bless you sir, until we meet again.

  • Jim in Alaska January 24, 2023, 9:00 AM

    Hey Gerard, what can I say?
    Glad to hear you’ve family & friends around you.
    The older we get the more we understand that every road ends.
    You did a heck of a great job stomping your way along yours.
    Thanks bro, just thanks for being!

  • Andrew E January 24, 2023, 10:02 AM

    You’ve been one of my go-to places for a dose of sanity. God bless you.

  • John A. Fleming January 24, 2023, 10:19 AM

    Mr. G, thank you for gifting me/us with the timeless knowledge that Poetics is more important than Politics. I don’t entirely understand it, but I keep trying, to do so might be the work of a lifetime. I hope to see you down the road.

  • D S Craft January 24, 2023, 10:22 AM

    Dear Mr. Van der Leun – as a very long time reader let me say that I’m so sorry and a little angry to receive this news. Sorry for me that the beacon that’s been on my dashboard for so long is leaving me, and angry for you that you’re being put through this after having once experienced what I thought was the perfect death 11 years ago; no warning, no pain or even discomfort, no suffering, just here one moment and gone the next. Why the good Lord chose to bring you back only to have you suffer this is beyond my poor comprehension. But know one thing, Mr. Van der Leun: you made a difference in this world. Not many people can say that, but you made a difference. You reached, and affected, and changed countless lives with you eloquent insights. You’ve lived the life well lived. I don’t know what comes next but one day we all find out. And then we’ll know…or we won’t. Go with God, Mr. Van der Leun, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • D S Craft January 24, 2023, 10:26 AM

      with *your* eloquent insights.

  • Jim January 24, 2023, 10:49 AM

    Your words have made a difference. Like everyone here, your words have touched me deeply. Years ago, after first reading your posts, I was reminded of what TS Eliot said. ” The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.”
    A life well lived, honestly, and written about without filters. Thank you. God Bless.

  • Bill Henry January 24, 2023, 11:03 AM

    I’m so sorry…
    But, because we believe that which we believe is true…
    Gerard’s story isn’t over…
    God Bless you friend who I have never yet met…
    Bill Henry

  • Wilfred Ruffian January 24, 2023, 12:22 PM

    This makes me sad. It’s like losing a friend,even though you never met him.

  • FunkyPhD January 24, 2023, 12:24 PM

    The first time I read “The Name in the Stone,” I was so moved that I copied the entire essay by hand into my commonplace book. And that was just one of Gerard’s amazing writings. You have enriched us all beyond measure. When you get to heaven, God will greet you with “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

  • Gagdad Bob January 24, 2023, 12:40 PM

    I recently responded to one of Gerard’s posts with one of Dávila’s aphorisms, to which he responded, I love that man! In which case, two more aphorisms for our Poet of the Blogosphere: Poetry is God’s fingerprint in human clay, and We have fewer reasons to anticipate that there will be a tomorrow than to believe there will be another life.

  • Frosty13 January 24, 2023, 1:05 PM

    Gerard,
    I have enjoyed your writing and observations for quite some time and I truly am praying for a miracle for you sir. Keep the faith!

  • John Stuart January 24, 2023, 1:10 PM

    Gerard, thank you for wisdom and special perspective on life. God speed.

  • OutbackMike January 24, 2023, 1:29 PM

    Gerard, you have been more inspirational to me than you will ever know. Thank you for all the time you’ve spent on this blog, and for your words. I will never forget your work, and may God bless you in these times.

  • Skorpion January 24, 2023, 1:40 PM

    Terrible news.
    Praying for Gerard.

  • Frank L Hugus January 24, 2023, 1:56 PM

    Your friends, followers and Chico go with you Gerard. God speed.

  • David January 24, 2023, 2:01 PM

    Ann Barnhardt
    Van der Leun is in his final agony. Let us offer an Ave…
    The host of AmericanDigest.org, Mr. Gerard Van der Leun, ‘the blogger’s blogger’, from whom I have shamelessly stolen countless memes and other posts as points of departure for posts here, is in his final agony from TurboCancer. Reports are that he has clergy at bedside in hospice.

    I’m reminded of the Antiphon and Canticle of the Nunc Dimittis from Office of Compline, my favorite of the Hours…

    Canticle Nunc dimittis
    Ant. Protect us, * Lord, while we are awake and safeguard us while we sleep; that we may keep watch with Christ, and rest in peace.
    Canticle of Simeon
    Luke 2:29-32
    2:29 Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, + * according to thy word in peace;
    2:30 Because my eyes have seen * thy salvation,
    2:31 Which thou hast prepared * before the face of all peoples:
    2:32 A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, * and the glory of thy people Israel.
    V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
    R. As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
    Ant. Protect us, * Lord, while we are awake and safeguard us while we sleep; that we may keep watch with Christ, and rest in peace.

    Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

    • Mary Ann January 24, 2023, 4:19 PM

      Amen. 💖

    • Brian_E January 25, 2023, 10:04 AM

      Amen

      I wait with mixed feelings to hear of our dear friend GVDL’s final passing, first – that we’ll no longer be blessed with any more new posts of his fine prose, and more importantly – he’ll no longer be suffering and will find a home in Our Father’s loving embrace. When the time comes, I’ll be offering up a decade of Rosaries – to aid in and recognise his journey to his eternal home, and encourage others to do the same.

      Amen.

  • Kevin Horton January 24, 2023, 2:19 PM

    Gerard,
    It’s been my great pleasure to have been able to read your blog since shortly after 9/11. You are an expert at painting a picture with your prose and a great curator of the current events. God speed

  • RigelDog January 24, 2023, 3:13 PM

    From one of the most beautiful and poignant songs, “No Hard Feelings” by the Avett Brothers:

    When my body won’t hold me anymore
    And it finally lets me free,
    Will I be ready?
    When my feet won’t walk another mile
    And my lips give their last kiss goodbye,
    Will my hands be steady
    when I lay down my fears, my hopes, and my doubts?
    The rings on my fingers, and the keys to my house
    With no hard feelings.

    When the sun hangs low in the west,
    And the light in my chest
    Won’t be kept held at bay any longer.

    When the jealousy fades away,
    And it’s ash and dust for cash and lust,
    And it’s just
    Hallelujah!
    And love in thought, love in the words
    Love in the songs they sing in the church
    And no hard feelings.

    Lord knows, they haven’t done much good for anyone,
    Kept me afraid and cold
    With so much to have and hold.

    When my body won’t hold me anymore
    And it finally lets me free,
    Where will I go?
    Will the trade winds take me south through Georgia grain?
    Or tropical rain?
    Or snow from the heavens?
    Will I join with the ocean blue?
    Or run into a savior true–
    And shake hands, laughing.
    And walk through the night, straight to the light,
    Holding the love I’ve known in my life
    And no hard feelings.

    Lord knows, they haven’t done much good for anyone
    Kept me afraid and cold
    With so much to have and hold
    Under the curving sky
    I’m finally learning why
    It matters for me and you
    To say it and mean it too
    For life and its loveliness
    And all of its ugliness
    Good as it’s been to me
    I have no enemies
    I have no enemies
    I have no enemies
    I have no enemies

  • Jeff Brokaw January 24, 2023, 3:15 PM

    Gerard has been a personal inspiration to me and a source of great joy for twenty years now. He probably knows this already, but he is loved and treasured even by those who never met him personally — there are many thousands of us.

    Godspeed my friend. You will be missed. A lot.

    • Ronald January 24, 2023, 5:11 PM

      I can’t understand how I feel such grief for someone I never met.

  • Aesop January 24, 2023, 3:19 PM

    This most unwelcome news deeply saddens all of us. Many thanks for your links, and all you have penned here over the years. You have always been a blessing to many, and appreciated by them all, and I hope the knowledge of that, and the esteem you have earned, may be a source of solace to you in this final trial. Your absence will be notable, as has been your impact on the rest of us. You have my sincere best wishes for now, and for all time.

  • T January 24, 2023, 3:31 PM

    I am so glad I was a subscriber. I now have the series of posts that were emailed out to read again and again. Gerard, you brought back my faith in the Heavens above. Peace be with you in whatever God’s plans may be.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

  • Wanda Sherratt January 24, 2023, 3:46 PM

    Oh no. I just read Ann Barnhard’s post; I had no idea Gerald was so ill. I subscribed to the site, looking forward to years of posts like ‘The Gift of the Walmagi’ and the one about the first job chopping wood for the little old lady up in the hills. I’m glad Gerald has his family around him, and I’ll say a prayer for him tonight. Too many people are going; sometimes I feel that God is deliberately removing everyone who could help, so we’ll have nothing to rely on but Him.

  • Dan Schuller January 24, 2023, 3:48 PM

    As Gerard taught us – Give us this day
    Along with a lot of other lessons. We’ll be praying for his recovery and if God calls him home that someone else will take up the banner.

  • Jim in Oxford January 24, 2023, 3:50 PM

    Whatever happens now for Gerard, all of us who are faithful readers hope it all goes peacefully for him. If we have digested anything from our time spent enjoying and learning from his postings, remember this: he made each of us stop and think about things that are or might be important to us.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

    By Mary Elizabeth Frye

  • John Kundrat January 24, 2023, 3:57 PM

    Almost met but didn’t. Years ago when Gerard lived in Queen Ann I had a condo in the North Shore of Lake Union, a trivial distance from him. I exchanged some emails with Gerard and so easily could have met with him for a coffee or brew during those years but only after he moved to California did I realize what slipped through my fingers. It would have been so convenient as many time I drove my wife to Queen Ann for her to shop at the now out of busness Nancy’s Sewing Basket. We departed Seattle subquently as well. The politics of the city was becoming toxic.

  • tim January 24, 2023, 5:25 PM

    You will be missed immeasurably, Gerard.

    Not being able to visit AD daily, like the last two decades, will not be easy.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us all.

  • John Fisher January 24, 2023, 5:28 PM

    https://www.thenewneo.com/2023/01/24/for-gerard/

    Neo has been providing the updates here. Prayers for them both.

    • ghostsniper January 24, 2023, 6:03 PM

      Wow.
      Oddly, some how, that made me feel a little bit better.
      I think.

      • jd January 24, 2023, 6:26 PM

        It made me feel much much better, Ghost. I only discovered Gerard after the fire and I’ve always had the feeling he was alone. I wanted to be in that room with the younger brother and church members and pastor and I thought maybe others felt the same way because I read so much
        about Gerard feeling like “family” to them. So knowing he has someone very close who loves him is the next best thing.

      • Nori January 24, 2023, 7:13 PM

        Indeed. Gerard has profound roots in the sanity side of internet madness. His links to them have blessed us.

        Thank you Neo,and Godspeed.

    • jwm January 24, 2023, 7:09 PM

      Thank you for the tip, John Fisher. And yeah, Ghostsniper, it makes me feel better as well. I wondered who was giving us the updates. Odd, Neo hasn’t been on my daily read list for a while. It is good to know that Gerard is not going it alone.
      God Bless, Neo. Take good care of him.

      JWM

    • Terry January 24, 2023, 8:17 PM

      Wow. What a fantastic mix Gerard and “N” make. I envision a rather wonderful biography or two in my simple brain. One for each of these wonderful human beings.

      • Walt Gottesman January 24, 2023, 10:00 PM

        It helps to know that Gerard hasn’t been, and isn’t as alone as I sometimes wondered that he might’ve been.

        Have learned much from the commenters here today, as usual on AD.

        Peace to Gerard and all

    • julie January 24, 2023, 9:16 PM

      Thank you, John. On the one hand, I am heartbroken for Neo; on the other, I am glad to know he has someone so amazing in his life.

    • Casey Klahn January 24, 2023, 11:12 PM

      This way, it’s poetry. (quote from The Commitments)

    • Mizz E January 25, 2023, 6:57 AM

      Praise God. An angel of compassion I prayed for is on the way. So lovely.

  • John Condon January 24, 2023, 6:42 PM

    Gerard,

    Here is a song you have posted on occasion in times past here on your site.

    I thought this would be a good time to post it as it seems to fit just right.

    I hope your brother will play it for you in Hospice.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miPq4ehrXro&ab_channel=BACIRUBATIDINOTTE

    A Rose among Thorns

    From a simple prayer
    That began as a whisper in a quiet place
    A dream can inspire the world
    A voice echo far away

    The wind can take our thoughts
    From the wasteland where we walk
    Into a pure land
    As heroes proudly stand
    Like a rose among thorns
    From a simple act
    That began in the corner of an unlit place
    A vision embraces the world
    A million candles blaze

    We rise above ourselves
    With a dignity somehow
    Reach that Promised Land

    As heroes proudly stand
    Like a rose that grows
    In spite of it all
    A simple rose among thorns

    In every lifetime we find a heart
    That lights a spark in the eyes of the weary
    Who can lead me to a greater love
    Show there’s good in us

  • Joan of Argghh! January 24, 2023, 7:19 PM

    I feel like at this point in our family reunion we should all post links to lovely things we’ve found here. I mean, as long as we are all here and have expressed our love and dismay, it’d be nice to see some favorite links to lead us into a remembrance of the beauty and truths that Gerard showed us, and that we don’t wish to forget. This seems apt and worth the click:

    https://americandigest.org/boomer-prayers-stand-spiritual-hymn-inside-popular-song/

    • Walt Gottesman January 24, 2023, 10:43 PM

      Thank you for the link Joan. I too was a high school soph in that hopeful year of 1960. How typical of Gerard to find the spiritual depth in “Stand By Me.” May he find rest “in the arms of the Lord.” May we all.
      Will look for a link to share tomorrow. Good suggestion.

    • Mizz E January 25, 2023, 7:30 AM

      Joanne, Thank you for the link. I was put in mind of this NGDavila aphorism: “All literature is contemporary for the reader who knows how to read.” Gerard made so many wonderful things visible to the less sighted.

    • Casey January 25, 2023, 10:40 AM

      Lovely idea, JoanoA.

      I will search for favorites.

  • Van Harvey January 24, 2023, 7:38 PM

    I heard about your situation last night Gerard, as I was settling in for a long night in the waiting room waiting for our grandson to be born. And after the initial jolt, the first thought that came to mind was “Can you imagine what Gerard could do with that contrast?”, and then the sad realization that no, I couldn’t, not even close. I rarely comment, but am a long time reader and I know full well that the Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere is one of a kind; your contributions will be deeply missed because they have been so very meaningful.

  • Mary Ann January 24, 2023, 8:14 PM

    https://americandigest.org/mt-archives/006556.php
    @Joan of Argghh! This is mine. It was one of the first links I posted on my little blog. That phrase in reference to his Mama and her bulletin board is something I meditate on after all these years.

    • Joan of Argghh! January 25, 2023, 5:28 AM

      I’ve never forgotten that one. Thank you!

  • DLSADA January 24, 2023, 8:49 PM

    For @Joan of Argghh, who led me to Gerard from her “late” blog-Primordial Slack: This one is of my favorites-https://americandigest.org/the-summer-of-our-content/.
    Gerard’s typical nuance, perception, detail, eloquence and insight! A painter’s eyes with a poet’s tongue.
    David Spence, Beaufort, N.C. (P.S.-After the Paradise fire destroyed his home, I sent him two fountain pens that I had turned on my lathe. Ever so often, out of the blue, I would get an gracious e-mail telling me how much he enjoyed them and used them. I treasure all of them).

    • Joan of Argghh! January 25, 2023, 5:33 AM

      What a great gift of time and memory, David! How lovely to think your talents were loved and appreciated buy such a giant of an artist!

  • PA Cat January 24, 2023, 9:01 PM

    @Joan of Argghh! Gerard’s introduction of Olive is one of my favorite posts:
    https://americandigest.org/american-digest-has-a-new-editor/

    Another one is a Trailer Park Boys sea shanty described by commenters as “quality entertainment” and “extremely silly and extremely well done”:
    https://americandigest.org/lethal-earworm-alert/
    It’s accompanied by a photo of Gerard’s spirit animal.

    I will miss Gerard’s sense of humor as well as his serious poetry and essays, and it helps me to revisit his lighter posts in the midst of our current grief.

  • Kristin January 24, 2023, 9:09 PM

    Before I close my eyes tonight my thoughts and prayers are with you Gerard. May Our Lord give you strength. Rest well tonight.
    We are with you.

  • Erik Wingren January 24, 2023, 9:33 PM

    Thank you, Gerard, for the powerful thought-provoking writing. I looked for your namesake’s name on the Merchant Mariner’s Memorial when I visited NYC, that tale so struck me. Just one of many to do so.

  • Walt Gottesman January 24, 2023, 10:46 PM

    Thank you for the link Joan. I too was a high school soph in that hopeful year of 1960. How typical of Gerard to find the spiritual depth in “Stand By Me.” May he find rest “in the arms of the Lord.” May we all.
    Will look for a link to share tomorrow. Good suggestion.

  • Deborah January 24, 2023, 11:10 PM

    Please read the private email sent tonight.

  • Princess Cutekitten January 24, 2023, 11:13 PM

    Praying for him and his family.

  • Behind Enemy Lines January 25, 2023, 12:48 AM

    G’day, Gerard, and greetings from Down Under.

    Me, I’m hoping for a miracle recovery, and will be the first to say “I told you so” – one of the benefits of Sydney being twenty hours ahead of you and Chico.

    And yet, in a sense, I’m twenty years behind you, too. That’s about how long I’ve followed along in the footsteps of your writing. Even during the times when the digital sewer became a bit too much for me, you were always there with a calm, sane and decent voice. If you didn’t know for certain before, our comments ought to reassure you that you’ve made a tremendous difference (in your quiet way) to a huge number of people. Sometimes the world needs a good example: it turned out to be you.

    We will not forget.

    Hey! Some of your pieces hit pretty hard, and will continue to shine a light onward through what might otherwise have been some dark paths.

    Thank you, brother.

    I hope we’ll catch up by and by.

  • Bill January 25, 2023, 3:22 AM

    This is said news, I have enjoyed coming to American Digest over the years Gerard’s wit and insight will be truly missed. Having said that I will be praying for a miracle so that maybe we can continue to revel in his wisdom. God Bless.

  • Kv January 25, 2023, 4:00 AM

    Thank you for sharing your life with us, sir. Merry meet, gently part, merry shall we meet again. Blessed Be, Gerard.

  • Gnawbone Jack January 25, 2023, 4:52 AM

    So long my friend. See you on the other side.

  • Grace McLoughlin January 25, 2023, 6:37 AM

    Long, strange trip, indeed.

    Thank you for all the delight you have brought to us these many years. You are irreplaceable. May God shelter you under His tender wing.

  • CT January 25, 2023, 7:01 AM

    Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.

    —-“Amazing Grace” John Newton, pub.1779

  • Chuck Quackenbush January 25, 2023, 7:05 AM

    God speed, Gerard

  • Christopher L Hunt January 25, 2023, 7:34 AM

    Although he will be missed on this plane, he will always be a good and faithful servant.

  • Walt Gottesman January 25, 2023, 7:47 AM

    This post by Gerard, a few months ago, is one of my favorites:
    https://americandigest.org/the-gift-outright/

    I was a 15-year-old high school kid when Robert Frost recited this poem at the JFK inauguration. I had only recently learned who Frost was and wondered how his poem “The Road Not Taken” might apply to me. It was encouraging to me to see that our great and good country had room for a poet at such an event.

    I’m thankful to Gerard for this post; for all his honesty, artistry and hard work in creating and sustaining AD. Am still praying for him.

  • Juliann January 25, 2023, 8:10 AM

    I’m a longtime reader who almost never comments. I am keeping the online vigil with everyone here. This is one of my favorite essays written by Gerard: https://americandigest.org/hitchhiking-in-the-land-of-the-dead-seattle-2008/
    I always hoped that he would write a book or two filled with his profound and insightful essays. This website is one of my favorite places on the internet.

  • Anonymous January 25, 2023, 8:31 AM

    So sorry to hear this .

  • Bill January 25, 2023, 8:32 AM

    So sorry to hear this .

  • Stuart January 25, 2023, 8:44 AM

    Prayers for peace and healing. God Bless and thank you. For everything.

  • Richard Goetsch January 25, 2023, 11:15 AM

    For over two decades I have come here to lurk read and listen, only rarely gathering the courage to overcome my stage fright to step before the curtain with a comment. On one occasion I came late to the party and posted a humble comment when the thread had grown cold, only to my gob smacked surprise to have Gerard respond with kind words which I hold dear as praise from a master.
    https://americandigest.org/jupiter-rising-if-only-our-earthly-cameras-would-evolve-until-they-could-bring-ufos-into-focus/

  • Larry Sutter January 25, 2023, 12:27 PM

    Some time ago Gerard was kind enough to send me an edition of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.
    Here is a passage from that work (IV:48):

    Pass then through this little space of time comformably to nature, and end your journey in content, as an olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew.

  • Ouirphuqd January 25, 2023, 12:42 PM

    Have always admired his way with words, truly a gifted human. We all deal with the cards we’ve been dealt. I’m convinced we will meet in the same place in the future. You have touched more than you will ever know.

  • Leslie January 25, 2023, 1:22 PM

    It has been a while since I have commented here, but years ago, Gerard commented on my Facebook posts a couple of times and he has always reblogged my Tumblr posts over the years. We exchanged a few emails, and his generosity with his time was appreciated. I like how we all watch out for one another. A family of old friends who have never met. Such a strange trip.

  • John Condon January 25, 2023, 1:23 PM

    One of my Favorite Essays by Gerard:

    A Sharp Man
    https://americandigest.org/mt-archives/grace_notes/a_sharp_man.php

  • OldTexan January 25, 2023, 4:34 PM

    Part of living well up into my 70’s is watching old friends move on to their next adventure and missing so many fine folks. Gerard shared his journey through the same events that have been ours, us older folk and his kindness and grateful observations as a conservative have helped me in my life as I would drink my coffee each morning and enjoy his views and opinions. Today when I read that Neo was heading out to take visit her old friend I felt a bit of relief knowing that another of my fine blog friends was traveling out to be with Gerard at this time in his journey. Blessings for Gerard, Neo and all of the readers who have enjoyed and been helped by his fine writing, thank you old friend and our nation will feel the loss of this great, reasonable, decent conservative man who had so much to share and give. Our hearts are heavy at this time.

  • nameless January 25, 2023, 4:47 PM

    A sadness. All I can say is I’m a cancer survivor who was not expected to survive. It’s been almost 20 years of God’s grace given to me. Perhaps Gerard … who deserves it far more than me … will be allowed to continue to be a shining light for us all – his family he hasn’t met – in today’s darkness.

  • TC January 25, 2023, 4:55 PM

    This breaks my heart.

  • The Thomas January 25, 2023, 5:09 PM

    Listen/question the hospice nurses and follow their directions. My brother had problems with the listening part with my Father’s hospice. Our nurses were minimalists, only having me give what little was required and no more. He wanted to give more to speed things up.

    Sleep when they let you sleep. I slept on the floor of my Father’s room so I would be there when he needed me. Give our love to Neo. I expect she will need it.
    /Thomas

  • The Thomas January 25, 2023, 5:15 PM

    When I saw Glenn’s comment about “Neo and Gerald” I had already read about Gerald’s hospice and was concerned that Neo also had medical issues. Now I see that her issue is just support for Gerald.

    I’m sure she will provide fine support, such as can be done under the circumstances.

    I will keep you both in my prayers.

    /Thomas

  • Tom Hyland January 25, 2023, 5:47 PM

    So many eloquent farewells… this is absorbing reflection… but still I’m not saying goodbye. Nothing is absolute and something positive just might be occurring as we continue to return to this spot. However, I gotta say Gerard was feeling old, mortal and philosophical when he visited Big Al’s Drive In burger joint back in August. This was exceptionally fine writing. https://americandigest.org/reading-auden-who-is-introducing-kierkegaard-to-me-over-fries-and-a-chocolate-malt-at-big-als/

  • David Amundsen January 25, 2023, 5:58 PM

    I am devastated. I have been following Gerard for years and have loved his columns. We will pray for a miracle.

  • Joan of Argghh! January 25, 2023, 6:05 PM

    “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing.
    These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

    • John Condon January 27, 2023, 7:43 AM

      Oh, thats a good one, Joan.

      The beauty we see here in this shattered paradise is a poor reflection what really is the face of God.

      Poets, such as Gerard, are able to effectively grasp those shards and help us see but a glimmer of that glory.

      “Good art was part of the Care-package for leaving Eden”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV9Fq_asTtk&t=441s&ab_channel=MoreChrist

      Though I have been away for some years now, I took heart knowing that Gerard would still be here and I could return to drink from this fountain that gave such refreshment.

      Now that he is departing for distant shores, I realize how much he gave us: Whether we were here at his website, or not.

      Barbarossa: The world used to be a bigger place.
      Jack Sparrow: The world is the same, there’s just less in it.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw0WWecKsNU&ab_channel=BeyondTheSurface
      .

  • Mary Ann January 25, 2023, 6:51 PM

    https://youtu.be/r-odIIQORQ4
    I’ve thought of this often through the loss of my parents, sister and husband. C.S. Lewis and JRRT often are a comfort. Love to Gerard, Neo and family

  • Nichevo January 25, 2023, 6:57 PM

    Dear Gerard,

    I believe my first exposure to your writing was in one of those magazines that used to come in a plain brown wrapper. Of course, I only bought it for the articles. Including yours.

    Since then it had been a while, but I started to see you on the internet, posting and commenting. I would always think, that guy’s got something on the ball.

    Not that you need my praise, but I have always enjoyed your work. I’m sad to hear that you are taking the road all men must travel. I hope that everything works out for the best for you in this best of all possible worlds.

    Just another county heard from saying, Thank you.

    Speaking of hearing, may this gift of another’s talent please you.

    https://youtu.be/KMYUSnecC58

    Valar morghulis.

  • Rob De Witt January 25, 2023, 7:35 PM

    My Dear Gerard,

    Twenty years ago we met online when you accused me of being “schoolmarmish” in a disagreement about something – probably rocknroll, which you revere and I detest. I never stopped coming back; for awhile I even fancied myself somewhat of a writer and you published some of my stuff. Your own writing has never ceased to leave me lost in admiration. Like everybody else in this thread, this ephemeral community, I cannot imagine a day without you.

    Eleven years ago I was confirmed as a Catholic, and now like Ann Barnhardt I have a structure to pray for others now and past. Please accept my gratitude for your sharing of your wonderful family with those of us who have none.

    Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum
    Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
    et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus
    Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
    Ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
    Nunc et in horae mortis nostrae.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
    Amen

    • Mary Ann January 25, 2023, 9:18 PM

      Amen

    • LadyBikki January 26, 2023, 8:04 AM

      Amen 🙏🏻

  • Kristin January 25, 2023, 8:35 PM

    We all here have been moved by your beautiful prose, your endearing stories. We might not have commented on everyone but it was very much loved.
    Tonight I say my prayers for you and your family Gerard. For you and your friends. For you and all of us.
    It’s late now. Rest. You are in our hearts.

  • Uncle Mikey January 26, 2023, 5:13 AM

    20+ years of reading your fascinating thoughts now. I pray it may continue. Love you G

  • herb January 26, 2023, 5:43 AM

    Weighing the entire internet on the Scales of Good and Evil, this one punched far above its weight towards for the Good.

  • John Condon January 27, 2023, 7:50 AM

    Here’s another good song Gerard would play for us occasionally in years past.

    (Anthem- ‘There is a crack, a crack in everything, thats how the light gets in’. Leonard Cohen)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDTph7mer3I&ab_channel=Differance1

    One that I have taken to heart.


    The birds they sang
    At the break of day
    Start again
    I heard them say
    Don’t dwell on what has passed away
    Or what is yet to be
    Ah, the wars they will be fought again
    The holy dove, she will be caught again
    Bought and sold, and bought again
    The dove is never free
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in
    We asked for signs
    The signs were sent
    The birth betrayed
    The marriage spent
    Yeah, and the widowhood
    Of every government
    Signs for all to see
    I can’t run no more
    With that lawless crowd
    While the killers in high places
    Say their prayers out loud
    But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
    A thundercloud
    They’re going to hear from me
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in
    You can add up the parts
    But you won’t have the sum
    You can strike up the march
    There is no drum
    Every heart, every heart
    To love will come
    But like a refugee
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in
    That’s how the light gets in
    That’s how the light gets in

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